Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals ordered a lower court to reduce the sentence of a defendant convicted of killing a man with whom his wife was allegedly having an affair.
The ruling is the latest episode that will likely add to criticism of the Turkish judiciary over "unjust provocation," an interpretation of laws that grants reduction of sentence for men who kill their spouses if the victim insulted or in some extreme cases, slapped their spouse.
The Supreme Court of Appeals, the ultimate judiciary authority, ruled that although the couple was in the process of a divorce, the woman was still married to the defendant at the time of the murder, and thus the case necessitated an interpretation as unjust provocation.
Court records show that the woman filed for divorce from her husband whom she was allegedly forced to marry by her parents. She left home after filing for divorce and did not retract it despite her husband's efforts. Her husband, suspicious of her relationship with a former boyfriend, stabbed him to death and injured his wife. A local court sentenced him to life in prison, ruling out a reduction in the sentence on the grounds that the defendant had no right to intervene to his wife's life even though the divorce was not finalized. The defendant applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals and the top court found that provocation was evident based on a threat from the victim over the phone to the defendant. Now the local court is bound to reduce the sentence of the defendant although it is not clear how much his prison term will be reduced.