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Discriminatory application of “undue provocation” provisions by Turkish courts when sentencing in cases of homophobic hate crime

Written declaration No. 543 | Doc. 13194 | 24 April 2013

Mr Jonas GUNNARSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Tina ACKETOFT, Sweden, ALDE ; Ms Najat AL-ASTAL, Palestine ; Mr Paride ANDREOLI, San Marino, SOC ; Mr Josep Anton BARDINA PAU, Andorra, ALDE ; Mr Robert BIEDROŃ, Poland, SOC ; Ms Maryvonne BLONDIN, France, SOC ; Mr David DAVIES, United Kingdom, EDG ; Ms Josette DURRIEU, France, SOC ; Ms Iryna GERASHCHENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Gerardo GIOVAGNOLI, San Marino, SOC ; Ms Iwona GUZOWSKA, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Carina HÄGG, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Håkon HAUGLI, Norway, SOC ; Mr Mogens JENSEN, Denmark, SOC ; Mr Ferenc KALMÁR, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Ms Guguli MAGHRADZE, Georgia, SOC ; Mr Pietro MARCENARO, Italy, SOC ; Ms Vesna MARJANOVIĆ, Serbia, SOC ; Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Jean-Pierre MICHEL, France, SOC ; Ms Riitta MYLLER, Finland, SOC ; Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Ms Carmen QUINTANILLA, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Mette REISSMANN, Denmark, SOC ; Ms Jadwiga ROTNICKA, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr René ROUQUET, France, SOC ; Ms Deborah SCHEMBRI, Malta, SOC ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Eric VORUZ, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Katherine ZAPPONE, Ireland, NR

In August 2010 Tolgahan Gürsoy killed Ahmet Ö., stabbing him nine times. He had met Ahmet Ö. in a gay bar, and had gone back to his house of his own free will.

A local court found Gürsoy guilty of "intentional homicide", but decided to reduce his sentence from life imprisonment to 10 years on the basis of "undue provocation", since he was trying "to protect his honour following a sex offer". This reduced sentence has been upheld by Turkey's Court of Appeal.

Such cases are not uncommon. In a 2011 report on the human rights of LGBT people in Turkey, Amnesty International expressed concern that in cases of suspected homophobic hate crimes perpetrators routinely relied on the defence of "undue provocation", and in many cases were effectively awarded lower sentences on the basis of the identity of the victim.

We call upon the Turkish authorities and courts to take measures to ensure that legal provisions on "undue provocation" are not applied in a discriminatory fashion, particularly in the case of suspected homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.