Killer of inter-religious couple sentenced to life in Turkey

An Istanbul court yesterday sentenced a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin to lifetime imprisonment, on the charge of “honor killing” for murdering his sister and her Muslim husband.

Gönay Öğmen allegedly killed his sister Soney Öğmen Vural and Zekeriya Vural in Istanbul’s Fatih district in Dec 2010.

The court ruled that the murder was “an honor killing,” despite Öğmen’s lawyer Adnan Mercan saying there were no honor killings in Christianity.

“Slain [Zekeriya Vural] reviled Öğmen’s dignity and religion. An aggravated provocation is in question. The incident happened suddenly, it was not planned,” Mercan said.

However, the court ruled that the murders were indeed “honor killings” and sentenced Vural to an aggravated life sentence for each murder. The punishment was then reduced to lifetime imprisonment due to the suspect’s good conduct in court.

The groom, Zekeriya Vural, a jeweler, was Muslim, while bride Soney Öğmen Vural’s family reportedly opposed the marriage because of his religion.

The couple was killed 11 days after their marriage. Their bodies were found in a car in the Seyitömer neighborhood of the Fatih district. An investigation revealed that the couple had died from bullets wounds to their heads and torsos.

The murderer told police that despite his sister’s desire that they have the wedding ceremony in church, Zekeriya Vural had rejected becoming a Christian.



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