May 31, 2017

"Two Kurdish German men accused of helping to kill their sister in 2005 because of her Western lifestyle were acquitted Tuesday in a Turkish court...."

The NYT reports (in an article by Patrick Kingsley).
A child of Turkish-Kurdish immigrants, Ms. Surucu was brought up in Germany before her father pulled her out of school and sent her back to her family’s ancestral village in Turkey, where at 16 she was forced to marry a cousin, according to German news reports.

After the marriage ended in divorce, she returned to Berlin and gave birth to a son, Can, but soon left her parents’ home to live as a single mother.

Prosecutors said that her conservative and religious brothers felt dishonored after she began refusing to wear a head scarf and started dating a German man. A German judge described the attack by Ayhan Surucu as “an ice-cold, execution-style murder.”...

A German court jailed Mr. Surucu in 2006, but acquitted Mutlu and Alparslan Surucu of involvement. A German appeals court later overturned the elder brothers’ acquittal, partly because of the testimony of Ayhan’s ex-girlfriend, who said they had helped him plan the murder.
I would like to see a more detailed explanation of the German court's opinion. The brother who shot the gun was convicted and imprisoned, and his ex-girlfriend implicated the other 2 brothers. I'm guessing her testimony was deemed unreliable hearsay and a violation of due process. [ADDED: Wait. I'm misreading this. I'm not used to seeing an appeal from an acquittal. The appeals court overturned the acquittal, so it seems that the trial court excluded the ex-girlfriend's testimony, and the appeals court said it could be used.]
But the two brothers were able to leave for Turkey, where they lived freely for several years.

In a German documentary released in 2011, Mutlu Surucu said his sister’s “lifestyle change” justified her murder. “Why does a woman need to dress up so prettily?” he reportedly asked. “Why does she need to go out on the town? To attract men.”
It troubles me to see a quote of the questions about the sister's behavior but not for the idea that Mutlu Surucu "justified her murder." To express understanding of the killer's motivation is not to be an accomplice to the murder.

These honor killings are horrible, but they shouldn't undermine our commitment to the rights of the accused.

I'm just trying to understand the article as printed in the NYT. I have to read between the lines, but I'm assuming the brothers were not retried in Germany because there wasn't enough evidence once the testimony of the ex-girlfriend was excluded. That's why they were able to leave Germany and "lived freely" in Turkey. [ADDED: I'm wrong here. We don't have an answer to why Germany didn't do a new trial. Perhaps the ex-girlfriend's testimony was not that promising.]

Why did Turkey prosecute them? Was it because of the documentary? Was Mutlu Surucu prosecuted because he expressed an offensive opinion about women dressing prettily and going out on the town?

The NYT article, at first glance, looks sober, but it's actually — in a low-key way — sensationalistic. And it shows the unfortunate tendency to disregard the rights of the criminally accused whenever it's too much trouble or a distraction from the attitude chosen for the article. [ADDED: My criticism of the NYT was based on my misreading of what the German court's did, so I'll say it's too strong. But I would like more detailed reporting on what courts have done and consistent regard — even when you hate the crime — for the rights of the criminally accused.]

43 comments:

Kevin said...

The NYT article, at first glance, looks sober, but it's actually — in a low-key way — sensationalistic.

Which goes for pretty much everything at the Times these days. All the Opinions Proper People Need to Hold.

Glen Filthie said...

FFS. Animals do not deserve the rights of Man, Althouse.

The third world is what it is because of the animals that live there. Now they're here, acting like animals while befuddled academic egg heads try and figure out how to apply civilized law to animals with no concept or appreciation for it. Enjoy that legal circle-jerk, folks. As for me - I am stocking up on ammo and popcorn.

Kevin said...

Prosecutors said that her conservative and religious brothers felt dishonored after she began refusing to wear a head scarf and started dating a German man.

She'd been to Turkey, met a lot of men, wasn't interested, and left the country. Why did her brothers think she did that? To find some Turkish dude closer to home? Maybe one who liked schnitzel and Wagner?

David Begley said...

NYT - not WaPo - should publish on the realities of Sharia law. It would be news to most Americans.

Kevin said...

Animals do not deserve the rights of Man, Althouse.

Watch that. You're probably a deplorable already and it won't take long before people gain power and lower the entire basket to animal status.

Raise it to animal status? Anyway...animal status.

rhhardin said...

I'd guess it's aimed at NYT women.

rhhardin said...

What opinion would women be most comfortable with. That's what goes in.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I read the article as saying the other two brothers were acquitted in Germany, had their acquittals overturned on appeal, but had left the country before they could be retried. Then when they were tried in Turkey the key witness linking them to the crime didn't show up in Turkey to testify. The third brother who fired the shots was convicted in Germany and served 9 years.

mockturtle said...

"A German appeals court later overturned the elder brothers’ acquittal, partly because of the testimony of Ayhan’s ex-girlfriend, who said they had helped him plan the murder."

Obviously, German laws differ from ours. As do Turkish laws. What is your point?

Etienne said...

God said, thou shalt not murder.

Honor killing are not murder. They are a sanctioned killing. Same as war.

The Bible states in plain Hebrew, that an honor killing is sanctioned by God. It is not considered murder. Christianity, is no exception to this rule. If you are a Christian, then you should be against men and women who dishonor their family.

However, if you believe that American Law is more important than Christian Law, then
you should include honor killings as part of the crime called murder.

American Law cannot have religious laws.

Leviticus 20:9
For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

Matthew 15:4
For God said: 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'

Mark 7:10
For Moses said, 'Honor your Father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever curses his father or mother must be put to death.'

Exodus 21:17
"He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

Deuteronomy 27:16
'Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'

Proverbs 20:20
He who curses his father or his mother, His lamp will go out in time of darkness.

Ezekiel 22:7
"They have treated father and mother lightly within you. The alien they have oppressed in your midst; the fatherless and the widow they have wronged in you.

Germany, as a Christian society, could reach no other verdict.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Certainly not Islam's fault. And since Merkel is one of the hero-cis's of the left, we can't blame Germany. Freaking Trump! I told you this would happen if you voted for him!

Bay Area Guy said...


"These honor killings are horrible, but they shouldn't undermine our commitment to the rights of the accused"

True, but naive. We, as Americans, don't know what "rights" the accused get in Germany or Turkey. Is there a Turkish ACLU under Erdogan?

The more important point is to recognize how barbaric Muslims are towards women - particularly family members - who stray from their Stone Age value system.

traditionalguy said...

I take it for granted that women do not vote in the false Prophet's conquered territories. And everyone approves of the nice job done by the brothers slicing the death cult's assigned victims.

How anyone can call any Islam a Religion of Peace, and honor them for these strict laws to kill the innocents, is a wonder.

rhhardin said...

Islam shows love.. Just now in the web mail from the NYT comes, subject line,

Breaking News: At least 80 were killed and hundred wounded by a hug

Curious George said...

"It troubles me to see a quote of the questions about the sister's behavior but not for the idea that Mutlu Surucu "justified her murder." To express understanding of the killer's motivation is not to be an accomplice to the murder."

Yeah when some Muslim dude comes up to you on the street and asks you "Why does a woman need to dress up so prettily? Why does she need to go out on the town? To attract men." you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

mockturtle said...

Tradguy, Turkish women have had the vote since 1930. Iran since 1963. Even in Saudi Arabia women have the right to vote. You cannot assume that women are not supportive of sharia law. I remember seeing women in full burka voting for the Ayatollah Khomeini, who made the statement: "Don't listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things."

Larry J said...

In case anyone was unclear on the concept, this is what a real "War on Women" looks like.

Unknown said...

Amazing, isn't it, how two Muslim men can kill their sister, and Etienne blames Christians.

And wow, Etienne: do you even read your citations? The two from the New Testament are from a time when Jesus is castigating the Pharisee's over their hypocrisy in accusing Him of violating the Law of Moses, when they themselves were violating it.

Do you know anything about Christianity, Etienne? Because Leviticus is Jewish law, not Christian law. It's in the Torah, the Jewish book.

Further, the death penalty for cursing your Father and Mother was for something more than just saying bad things about them. You'd have to actually study a bit of Biblical law to realize that. The ancient world was based on honor and integrity. So of course it's alien and foreign to today's progressives, who wouldn't know integrity if it bit them in the bollocks.

--Vance

Ann Althouse said...

"I read the article as saying the other two brothers were acquitted in Germany, had their acquittals overturned on appeal..."

You're right. I made a few updates to the post to cover that. I really did misread something.

"... but had left the country before they could be retried."

Germany let them leave.

"Then when they were tried in Turkey the key witness linking them to the crime didn't show up in Turkey to testify."

Why did Turkey try them under the circumstances? Why not send them back to Germany?

William said...

The murderer received nine years for a carefully premeditated killing. The other two were acquitted. Criminal rights seem well protected in Germany. The right of Muslim reared women to disregard the scarf and date whoever they like, less so.......I'm glad that so many Muslims are against the murder and mutilation of Ariana Grande fans. I would be more reassured about them, however, if they expressed some outrage about this killing. An unkind word about a woman wearing religious garb is apt to receive far more condemnation than this murder.

Curious George said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Why did Turkey try them under the circumstances? Why not send them back to Germany?"

Clicking through the link on the NYT story to a Speigle story on the murder produced this:

"A court in Berlin wants him to stand trial again, but Turkey will not extradite its own citizens."

Birkel said...

@ Althouse at 8:47 AM

Turkey did not want its citizens convicted under another sovereign's laws. Part of that is because Turkey probably, and I'm just guessing here, is not exactly against the imposition of Islamic punishments, e.g. "honor" killings.

Ataturk is long since dead.

Ann Althouse said...

"Then when they were tried in Turkey the key witness linking them to the crime didn't show up in Turkey to testify."

That's another deficiency in the NYT article: We're not told why she didn't appear. What evidence did Turkey have? Why did it prosecute? Why didn't the Germans retry?

Ann Althouse said...

"Turkey did not want its citizens convicted under another sovereign's laws. Part of that is because Turkey probably, and I'm just guessing here, is not exactly against the imposition of Islamic punishments, e.g. "honor" killings."

Obviously, it's not that they believe in the principle against double jeopardy, which is what we have in the U.S., where there's no government appeal from an acquittal and jury nullification is even widely accepted.

Sebastian said...

"The third brother who fired the shots was convicted in Germany and served 9 years." Which is the real scandal.

The Europeans affect moral superiority over American deplorables, but life is cheap there.

Ann Althouse said...

"True, but naive. We, as Americans, don't know what "rights" the accused get in Germany or Turkey. Is there a Turkish ACLU under Erdogan?"

There's nothing naive about talking about the rights of the criminally accused where I'm not assuming the rights are the same but using our rights as a basis for asking (or guessing at) what the rights might be and saying I'd like to see the NYT cover the subject and show concern about due process as it presents foreign proceedings in a negative light.

Richard said...

Okay, these two morons aren't criminally accused. THey're uncriminally associated. Maybe the NYT is merely rounding out what is known about the uncriminally associated. Maybe some traitor in the NYT wanted the readers to know about certain....attitudes... which may, under other circumstances, be applied to another sister if, God forbid, there is another one.
Or to somebody else's sister. Not a bad thing to learn.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...The brother who shot the gun was convicted and imprisoned, and his ex-girlfriend implicated the other 2 brothers.

The murder--the brother who shot his sister in the head from close range--was convicted in Germany. Say, what kind of a sentence do you think you'd get for the calculated, pre-medidated, cold-blooded murder of your sister (by shooting her in the head with what I have to assume is an illegally-possessed firearm)?

Owen said...

Prof. A: "...That's another deficiency in the NYT article: We're not told why she didn't appear. What evidence did Turkey have? Why did it prosecute? Why didn't the Germans retry?"

Good questions. Either the NYT was lazy or working its own PC agenda here. Not much to work with. My guess is:
(1) She didn't appear because she would be dead soon afterward if not before. These people do not fool around. And in any case, she's only a woman. I thought you needed, like, four women witnesses to equal one man?
(2) What evidence did Turkey have? Just enough to move the process to completion (see (3)).
(3) Why did it prosecute? To close the book. It wanted its boys to have their honor cleansed, the whole situation justified. Thanks, Erdogan.
(4) Why didn't the Germans retry? How? The guys had left the premises, hadn't they? Why bother?

What strikes me most sadly is that this is Germany. Where Turks have been "assimilated" for generations. And what we see is not assimilation but sequestration. The same way the body walls off the tuberculosis pathogen into a corrupt little corner. From which it eventually breaks out and kills the host.

Metaphor, folks. Just kidding.

khesanh0802 said...

@ Ann "Detailed reporting"?!? With the way today's reporters reflect what's happening on social media rather than things they ferret out themselves you are lucky to get any "reporting" at all.

I have been puzzling over what is happening to all the MSM as a result of the impact of social media. The one thing I am sure of is that most reporters today have little or no in depth knowledge of the areas they cover, or the history thereof. They seem to believe that they can expound "truth" in 40 characters or less - of course "truth" is what they, in their immaturity, believe it to be (it was on the internet it must be true!") Headline writers on MSM sites seem be only going for clicks, not an accurate reflection of the article they are headlining. Will any of these people grow up and become more discerning? I have little hope.

eric said...

We should bring more people like that to America, because hey, they aren't terrorists.

MaxedOutMama said...

I have been following this case in the German newspapers for years, it seems.

The two older brothers were at first acquitted. They then left Germany, as they had every right to do. After the successful appeal of the acquittal, they could not be retried in Germany due to being safely in Turkey. The Turkish courts took up the case, and the two brothers were just acquitted due to inadequate proof by the Turkish court. However, the girlfriend (Melek) could not be found to testify in this latest trial, and if she had testified, it is very possible that the two brothers would have been convicted in the Turkish court. (Note: if I were the girlfriend, I probably would be personally afraid to go to Turkey and testify. Melek was under special police protection as a state witness in Germany during the trial.)

Melek's testimony was that the two other brothers were involved, and that Mutlu got the weapon and gave it to Ayhan (the youngest). Alpaslan was the one who ordered the killing a few days earlier.

The youngest confessed to the killing and said it was committed entirely alone. Because he was legally a minor (18), he could not receive a long sentence under German law. So this is why he was nominated for the starring role. Melek's testimony could not help him, but it did not succeed in getting the other brothers convicted either.

Hatun (the murdered woman) had, prior to her death, informed the police that she had been threatened. It is believed that the motive was not just her behavior, but the fear that she would not raise her son Can as a Muslim. After her death a sister tried to get custody of the son, but this was refused by the German state.

All three brothers are now free and clear in Turkey, not to mention being heroes in some quarters. At the time of Hatun's killing, vocal support among Turkish students in German schools for Hatun's killers was extremely shocking to German sensibilities.

However, the Turkish court probably could not have reached any other decision.

eric said...


However, if you believe that American Law is more important than Christian Law, then
you should include honor killings as part of the crime called murder.

American Law cannot have religious laws.


Man! We Christians have been missing this all these years.

We need to start listening to non Christians and figure out what the heck that there Bible is telling us.

Big Mike said...

I strongly object to calling the murder an "honor killing." Those bastard offspring of a bitch dog mating with a boar hog wouldn't know what honor was if it squirted ketchup in their ears.

mockturtle said...

Eric suggests/sarc: We need to start listening to non Christians and figure out what the heck that there Bible is telling us.

Unless someone has actually read the entire Bible several times and understands the significance of the OT/NT and the place of Christ in both, they shouldn't be taken seriously. There are a lot of unbelievers who like to trot out a non-contextual verse or two and use it as an argument.

JAORE said...

Sisterhood, as it turns out, is not all THAT powerful.

William said...

Thanks to MaxedOutMama for an informative post. This murder was carefully plotted, and the family used codicils in the German law to get away with murder.....I would never say anything negative about a woman wearing religious garb. One very good reason for refraining from such behavior is because the woman involved might not be acting on her own volition.......I repeat my earlier comment. I would take it kindly if there were some significant fraction of the Muslim community who expressed as much public outrage about this murder as they do about the confiscation of Ahmad's clock.

readering said...

Interesting Turkish movie on the idea of murdering a woman who has brought dishonor on the family.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0978649/

Etienne said...

Do you know anything about Christianity, Etienne?

Hell yea, I'm a living fucking Saint. You can call me: Saint Etienne

But you doesn't have to call me Mr. Johnson...

Kevin said...

Thanks MaxedOut! That was very helpful.

Gahrie said...

Western Civilization needs a modern day Charles Napier.

Gahrie said...

The third brother who fired the shots was convicted in Germany and served 9 years.

For murder. There are plenty of people walking around that I might be willing to take out if I only had to serve 9 years.......

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