Thursday, April 13, 2006

A True Miscarriage of Justice

Of the few crimes that really makes my blood boil over with anger honor killing ranks near the top of my list. So, when I read on the BBC's website that an honor killer in Germany received less than ten years for murdering his sister I could scarely wonder what the judges were thinking.

From the BBC's article:

A 19-year-old Turkish man has been jailed for nine years and three months by a German court for shooting his sister in a so-called "honour killing".

Ayhan Surucu had confessed to shooting his sister Hatun Surucu, 23, at a bus stop in a Berlin suburb last year.

How is a sentence of nine years and three months a proper sentence for a convicted killer? He admitted to murdering his own sister, not stealing a car or robbing a bank. Nine years in exchange for a life? Absurd.

Her killer, Ayhan Surucu, had told the court he shot his sister because he disapproved of her lifestyle and her morals, but added that he regretted his actions.

He said she infuriated him by saying that she had the right to live as she pleased and to sleep with whom she wanted.

"It was too much for me. I grabbed the pistol and pulled the trigger," he told the court in September. "I don't even understand what I did anymore."

He shot his sister at a bus stop. Although the story doesn't explain whether he had the argument with his sister at the bus stop or at an earlier time, he still leveled his pistol at her and fired with the intent of causing fatal injuries. That is the very definition of murder, and how he managed to deserve a slap on the wrist I'll never know.

I know it's Maundy Thursday, and as a Christian I'm supposed to take stock of my baser instincts, but I still would like to see this guy dead. He snapped and killed his sister over his own concept of honor, and in return he should be taken out back and hanged like the animal he is. At the very least, twenty years to life in prison is a much more appropriate sentence. Instead, he'll walk free in less than a decade.

And what about the message this sends to every other murderous bastard that thinks about killing for honor?

"I heard a young Turkish lady said on a Turkish radio station 'she deserved it because she took off her headscarf'. This is incredible," says Ozcan Mutlu, one of the few Turks sitting on the Berlin city council.

He says the problem has been exacerbated by the German authorities turning a blind eye to it.

"For instance, when a Turkish man beat his wife, he didn't get the same punishment as when a German did it. They tried to explain it with the culture, the traditions, and with the religion.

"That's stupid, you cannot do that. There is no cultural or religious excuse for beating women, and there can be no less punishment for honour killings. But in Germany it was the fact in the past years."

Letting Surucu off with a light sentence will do nothing to stifle honor killing and related crimes.

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