DİYARBAKIR - A court has sentenced five members of the same family to life imprisonment for the honor killing of Naile Erdaş, 16, who fell pregnant as a result of rape, activists said Monday.
In its verdict Friday, a court in the eastern city of Van sentenced the murder victim's brother to life in jail for the 2006 murder said to have been committed to cleanse the family honor, the Van Women's Association said.
The girl's father, mother and two uncles were also given life sentences for instigating the murder, while a third uncle was jailed for 16 years and eight months for failing to report the murder in one of the heaviest sentences handed down in Turkey for such a killing.
"We can say this verdict is a first in terms of the harshness of the sentences and the fact that the entire family was convicted," Mazlum Bağlı, a researcher into honor killings at Dicle University in Diyarbakır, told AFP.
Zelal Özgökçe of the Van Women's Association welcomed the sentence as an appropriate deterrent. "It is very good that the entire family was punished for the crime," she said. "It will serve as a deterrent. People will become aware that they will face the consequences of an honor killing."
Erdaş fell pregnant as a result of rape but concealed her condition until she was hospitalized for a severe headache during which time doctors discovered she was pregnant.
When the family made threats and offered bribes to get the girl back, doctors decided to keep her in the hospital and informed police and the prosecutor's office. One week after Erdaş gave birth, the prosecutor agreed to send her home after the girl's father promised she would not be harmed. But she was shot dead by her brother a few hours after returning home.
In honor killings, generally prevalent among Turkey's Kurdish community, a so-called family council names a member to murder a female relative who is considered to have sullied the family’s honor. In most cases this is because of an extra-marital affair. In recent years, the government has stepped up efforts to stamp out honor killings.
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