An Istanbul court Thursday handed down a suspended sentence of one year and 10 months and a suspended fine of TL 3,880 ($712) to Ayhan Almila Kursar, a woman accused of assaulting a high school girl wearing a headscarf.
Kursar had claimed she did not remember the incident that took place in a passenger minibus in Istanbul's Maltepe district in February 2017 that had caused outrage at the time. She said she was suffering from a psychiatric condition at the time of the incident.
She was charged with "prevention of religious freedom" and "insult" for insulting 16-year-old Fatma Dilara Yiğit before moving to hit her and removing her headscarf while the two were in a minibus. Yiğit and activists from a women's association were present at the last hearing, along with Kursar, who was released pending trial in earlier hearings.
Minibus driver Mehmet Fatih Boğa, who was an eyewitness, told the court that the defendant intervened while Yiğit was talking to another passenger and pulled Yiğit's headscarf after saying that she should not go to school while wearing the headscarf.
Kursar repeated that she did not remember what transpired between her and Yiğit and told the court the latter intimidated her. She apologized to Yiğit during the hearing.
The court ordered the suspension of sentences for Kursar as she did not have any previous criminal records while dismissing other charges including committing a hate crime.