Honour killing story

Meryem Ö.
born 1973
Strangled: 4 January 2005
Residence: Berlin-Neukölln
Origin: Turkey / Kurds
Children: 5
Perpetrator: Meryem's former partner Mahmut S. (33 years old at the time of the crime), father of their 5 children.
Meryem Ö. and Mahmut S. (both Kurds) live in an imam marriage. This religious marriage is not officially recognized in Germany and Turkey. It is not known why the two were not officially married via civil marriage. They have five children together.

No happy day would have passed in Meryem's life, her sister Suna later says. For years, Meryem is abused and humiliated by her Kurdish husband.

At last she gets a lawyer to ban him from entering the apartment. He does not comply and on January 4, 2005, forcibly enters the apartment and strangles her (possibly under the influence of alcohol).

Afterwards he meets his brother in the street and tells him that he killed his wife. He throws him the key and disappears. Presumably straight to the airport.

Mahmut flees to Bursa in northwest Turkey, a hundred kilometers from Istanbul. There he is arrested in a hotel four days after the crime. The hotel had routinely passed on his name to the authorities. Mahmut testified that he killed his wife because she no longer loved him.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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