Honor killing of Hatun Sürücü
Hatun "Aynur" Sürücü (also spelled Hatin Sürücü; January 17, 1982 in Berlin – February 7, 2005 in Berlin) was a Kurdish woman living in Germany whose family was originally from Erzurum, Turkey. She was murdered at the age of 23 in Berlin, by her own youngest brother, in an honor killing. Sürücü had divorced the cousin she was forced to marry at the age of 16, and was reportedly dating a German man. Her murder inflamed a public debate over forced marriage in Muslim families.
Sürücü was sent back to her ancestral village by her family and forced to marry a cousin there at the age of 16. She gave birth to a son, Can, in 1999. In October 1999, she fled her parent's home in Berlin, finding refuge in a home for underage mothers. She attended school, and had moved into her own apartment in the Tempelhof neighborhood of Berlin. At the time of her murder, she was at the end of her training to become an electrician.
On February 7, 2005, at a bus stop near her apartment, she was killed by three gunshots to the head. The police arrested her three brothers on February 14. After several weeks of news coverage, the media began to label the motive of the murder an honor killing, since Hatun had received threats and reported them to police before she was killed.
In July 2005, the Berlin Public Prosecutor's office charged Sürücü's brothers with her murder. On September 14, 2005, Ayhan Sürücü, the youngest brother, confessed to murdering his sister.
In April 2006, Ayhan was sentenced to nine years and three months in prison, and his two older brothers were acquitted of charges of conspiring to murder their sister. The prosecution appealed on a point of law at the Federal Court of Justice, the Bundesgerichtshof, immediately and the 5th criminal division of the Federal Court of Justice overturned the conviction and allowed the revision. A new criminal proceeding was to take place in August 2008.
Sürücü's murder was the sixth incident of "honor" killing since October, 2004. Public anger was aroused by an incident at a high school near the scene of the crime some days after Hatun Sürücü was killed, when some male students of Kurdish and Turkish origin reportedly applauded the crime. During a class discussion on the murder, one allegedly said that she "only had herself to blame", while another remarked "She deserved what she got – the whore lived like a German."
On February 22, 2005, a vigil called by the Berlin Gay and Lesbian association was held at the scene of the crime, which was attended by about 100 Germans and Turks together. A second vigil, called for by German politicians and artists, was held on February 24.
Sürücü's murder, and several similar cases in Germany and elsewhere in Europe have been cited by political opponents of Turkey's admission to the European Union, as an example of disregard for human rights in the Turkish culture. Oddly though Hatun Sürücü was of Kurdish descent.
The Sürücü family's behaviour again sparked public outrage when Hatun's sister Arzu applied for custody of Hatun's six-year-old son Can, who has living with a foster family in Berlin since the murder of his mother. Eight months later the district court of Berlin-Tempelhof rejected the request. Arzu Sürücü appealled this decision but the appeal was rejected.
The public continues to demonstrate for Hatun on the anniversary of her death. Activists and citizens lay wreaths in her memory and campaign for help for girls who are faced with forced marriage and honor-related violence.
- "Tatmotiv Kultur". Frankfurter Allgemeine, 02.03.2005; F.A.Z., 03.03.2005, Nr. 52 / page 37 (German).
- Pressemitteilung des Bundesgerichtshofs Nr. 117/07. August 28, 2007.
- "Sürücü-Mord kommt wieder vor Gericht".
- Cleaver, Hannah (April 19, 2006). "Anger as 'honour killing' family try to adopt victim's son". Telegraph (UK).
- "Kein Sorgerecht für Sürücüs". n-tv.de. December 20, 2006.
- "Sorgerechts-Gezerre um Hatun Sürücüs Sohn". Spiegel Online. February 5, 2007.