Penalty for Defending Murder with "Tradition"
The Diyarbakır Bar Association decided for a warning penalty for the lawyer who referred to 'honour' regarding the murder of Gülitan Gümüş and said "The killed woman was not innocent". Lawyer Kanar appreciated the decision although it came with delay.
The Diyarbakır Bar Association issued a warning penalty to defence lawyer Z.Y. in the trial related to the killing of Gülistan Gümüş because he violated professional rules and went beyond the scope of the right to defence.
Lawyer Z.Y. had said at the hearing on 5 April 2007 "Honour is like the love to your country or the love to God. The killed Gülistan Gümüş was not innocent".
His speech of defence was criticized after these sentences were reported in the news. A complaint was filed to the Diyarbakır Bar Association on the grounds of a violation of professional rules and exceeding the limits of defence. The procedure was pending since April 2007 and was now concluded with a warning penalty for lawyer Z.Y.
Plaintiff lawyer Habibe Yılmaz Kayar said that this was an important decision although it came with delay.
"The attitude of lawyers related to the right to defence in all trials is in line with international law values. These values and that attitude cannot be changed in the prosecution of the crime of killing by using the excuse of tradition".
"The freedom of defence is not the freedom to praise offences against women. It can particularly never be considered as a justification of widespread and systematic violence against women. Lawyers cannot identify their clients' feelings with the right to defence. Violence that eliminates the right to life and obviously breaches human rights cannot be excused by local, cultural and traditional reasons. It was stated that universal human rights need to be addressed. That is the actual meaning of this decision", Kayar emphasized.
"A violation of human rights was constituted and the right to life was being eliminated. This decision did not turn a blind eye terror and did not legitimize it, even though it was delayed. In the beginning, the Diyarbakır Bar Association did not think that way. They did not see the need to launch an investigation. The Union of Bar Associations overruled that verdict upon our objection and it turned out that this decision was required".
Gümüş got married to her husband as part of a "bride exchange" between both families in the Çınar district of Diyarbır. In the course of her arranged marriage, Gümüş was not able to stand the pressure of her husband's family applied on her because "she had not been able to give birth to a boy". She moved to Istanbul but returned to her village later on thinking that she breached the "bride exchange".
Back in her village, Gümüş was hiding in a trunk because her brother had threatened to kill her. On 22 July 2006, she was killed with several shots from a long-barrelled gun.
Lawyer Z.Y. was criticized for saying that the killed woman was not innocent and that the murder was committed by "reasons of tradition". He defended his client as follows:
"As the phrase goes, she was a bird in a cage. She was not chased by 20 hunters. She was caught with one weapon. The one who used that weapon confessed his crime. It was M.Ş.T. The file contains contradictions related to the other defendants".
"This is not specific for our region but situations like this can be seen in any part of the world. This is like the love to your mother country, the love to God. Some groups here consider their honour more [important] than a live. The killing of this woman was not a simple honour killing. Some things go beyond our language".
"But we can say this: The dead woman was not innocent. Therefore, we demand to release B.G. and H.T. or at least release them on bail".
Bar Association saw no need for investigation
The Diyarbakır Bar Association assessed the related complaints in April 2007: "The made comparisons may be rude and wrong. (...) However, the defence did not exceed the limits of immunity and remained within the scope of defence". Therefore, the bar association decided against the need for disciplinary proceedings.
In April 2009, the Turkey Union of Bar Associations (TBB) accepted the appeal against that decision. In the decision of the Diyarbakır Bar Association about the investigation the bar association concluded that the TBB Professional Rules No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 were violated as well as Article 34 of the attorneyship law. "The words used in the defence could not be considered within the scope of the right to defence". (ÇT)
İstanbul - BIA News Center
27 March 2012, Tuesday