Honour killing story

Semra Uzun
born: 1983
stabbed to death: 25 November 2004
Residence: Berlin-Wittenau
Country of origin: Turkey
Children: daughter Eda (born 2001), a son from a new relationship (born 2004)
Perpetrator: her ex-husband Cengiz Uzun (age 26 at the time of the crime)
Semra grows up in Berlin. Her mother dies in 1994, a month later her father remarries. Possibly the new wife does not accept Semra. She is treated like a house slave. To get rid of her, the father marries Semra to her cousin Cengiz when she is 12 (possibly by phone). Three years later, the wedding is being prepared. Semra flees to the Berlin girl's shelter Papatya.

The father urges his daughter, the girls' aid service and the youth welfare agency to return Semra home.

He even threatens to pour gasoline on himself and commit suicide. He assures in writing that he will not force his daughter into marriage.

Semra returns to her family and a few days later is taken to Turkey and married off. She then returns to Berlin with her husband.

The marriage goes badly, Cengiz is violent, the police have to be called again and again for domestic violence. At the age of 21 Semra divorces him, moves in with her daughter and starts a new relationship. She has a son.

The situation escalates when unemployed Cengiz's right to stay is threatened. His lawyer advises him to claim a particularly close relationship with his child. Presumably for the same reason, Cengiz suddenly claims that his ex-wife's second child is also his. A paternity test refutes the lie.

But now Cengiz wants to see his daughter. Because he is violent, he is only allowed to do so under the supervision of the youth welfare agency. But Eda does not want to play with him. The meeting is broken off. Moments later, Cengiz kills his ex-wife in the street with more than 30 knife stabs in front of their three-year-old daughter. He is arrested at the scene.

In September 2005, the perpetrator is sentenced to 12 years in prison. He reportedly felt insulted because his daughter would not play with him. In court, he claims it was not a forced marriage (which is not uncommon. Perpetrators usually claim it was a love marriage). The co-plaintiff's lawyer says Semra's father simply sold his daughter.

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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