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Three jailed in Turkey for female student’s murder


jail2A Turkish court on Thursday sentenced three men to life in prison for the murder and attempted rape of a 20-year-old female student that unleashed a wave of anger over violence against women.

Ozgecan Aslan was bludgeoned and stabbed to death in February after she was returning home from a shopping trip on a minibus, in a crime that sparked nationwide street protests.

The court sentenced minibus driver Ahmet Suphi Altindoken to “aggravated” life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

His two accomplices — his father Necmettin Altindoken and a friend Fatih Gokce — received the same terms, it added.

The aggravated life term is the highest punishment possible in Turkey after it abolished the death penalty in 2002, and means maximum jail terms with tougher conditions.

In this case, the three will serve at least 40 years in prison, defence lawyer Efkan Bolac told the private NTV television station.

According to the indictment, Ahmet Suphi Altindoken drove Aslan to a wood after all the other passengers had got off and then tried to rape her.

The young woman fought back using pepper spray but Altindoken then bludgeoned and stabbed her to death.

Altindoken’s father and friend were found guilty of helping him burn and dispose of the body. The remains were found by police and the three were arrested.

The Turkish authorities acknowledge there is a grave problem of violence against women — often involving wives killed by their husbands — but activists say nowhere near enough action has been taken.

According to the Platform to Stop Violence Against Women, 258 women have been murdered in Turkey so far this year and 286 in 2014.

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