Suspects in brutal killing of 20-year-old appear in court

Three suspects who are currently under arrest for the killing of 20-year-old Özgecan Aslan in February appeared in court in the province of Mersin on Friday morning.

A prosecutor is seeking an aggravated life sentence for each of the suspects. As the first hearing of the trial kicked off, Aslan’s mother and father were reportedly absent from the courtroom. The family is being represented by the deceased’s uncle.

As a total of 1,000 Turkish lawyers had demanded to be co-plaintiffs in the case, a conference hall was used as the courtroom for the case. At the time of the start of the trial, 100 lawyers had been allowed into the court to follow the hearing.

Aslan was brutally murdered on Feb. 11, and her body was found by police on Feb. 13. She was the last passenger on a minibus where the driver took her to an isolated area and attempted to rape her. Aslan fought back with pepper spray and nail scratches were found on the face of the accused attacker, Ahmet Suphi Altındöken. Altındöken stabbed her repeatedly, and with the help of his father and a friend, cut off the young women’s hands, burned her, and threw her in a river.

The woman’s death sparked protests across the country that thousands of people participated in. The Monday following her murder was dubbed “Black Monday,” as people dressed in black or sported black ribbons in Aslan’s memory, and Altındöken subsequently became the most hated man in Turkey.