DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — In a landmark Turkish case, a man who murdered his son because he was gay and “shaming” the family, has been convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to life in prison.
The case that lasted nearly two years was closed Monday when a Diyarbakır Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes convicted Metin Çiçek and two uncles – Şeyhmus Çiçek and Mehmet Alican Çiçek – for the murder Roşin Çiçek.
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The court rejected Metin Çiçek’s defense that he killed his son “by accident.”
The murdered adolescent’s uncles received a life imprisonment sentence each.
The court was packed with LGBT and human rights organizations, Turkish media as well as prominent opposition party members of the Turkish parliament.
During the court hearing, members of the Çiçek family threatened that “if anyone gets convicted in this case, we will kill everyone who is here, the lawyers, and the members of parliament.”
Çiçek family members also reportedly hurled anti-gay slurs and attacked several LGBT rights advocates in the courtroom; three people received minor injuries.
Local advocacy group Hevi LGBTI documented that two gay people from Diyarbakır were also attacked.
As a result police claimed that they could not “guarantee the security” of LGBT rights advocates, who were then forced out of court.
Article continues belowSezgin Tanrikulu, Vice President of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) demanded that the government legislate against hate crimes and discrimination against LGBT people.
“To ensure that other Roşin Çiçek-like murders do not happen, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and all political institutions, non-governmental organizations, and public opinion leaders must fulfill their responsibilities,” said Tanrikulu. “Otherwise, they are partners to hate crimes.”
Ömer Akpınar, Media Coordinator of Turkey’s main LGBT advocacy group Kaos GL, told LGBTQ Nation that he welcomed the ruling: “Although the murder was not defined as a hate crime, we hope that the decision will be an example for other homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.”
Akpınar added that the international community and human rights organizations must “pressure on Turkey to recognize and protect the rights of its LGBTI people.”