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Brother Admits to Honor Killing

DW staff (jp)
September 14, 2005

A young Turkish man told a Berlin court Wednesday that he murdered his sister earlier this year because he didn't approve of her lifestyle.

Hatin Sürücü, victim of a suspected honor kilingImage: Polizei Berlin

Three brothers from a Turkish immigrant family went on trial in Berlin Wednesday, accused of carrying out an "honor killing" of their sister -- allegedly out of disgust for her western lifestyle. One has already admitted sole responsibility for her murder.

The death of 23-year-old Hatin Sürücü attracted nationwide attention after she was shot dead with three bullets to the head at a Berlin bus stop last February.

When three of Sürücü's 5 brothers were charged with the killing, the case triggered angry debate about immigrant integration and democratic values within Germany's Muslim community.


As the trial began, the youngest of the three brothers gave a statement saying that he killed his sister because of her lifestyle.

Sürücü, who was divorced and lived with her five-year-old son, had made choices that he believed brought dishonor upon the family. He also said he committed the crime out of concern for his nephew's future.

"I killed my sister, and I acted alone," said 19-year-old Ayhan S. via his lawyer. In a show of remorse, he said "today, I can can no longer understand my actions."

The two other men, aged 24 and 26, said they were not involved with the slaying of the sister.

A western lifestyle

Türkinnen mit Kopftuch in Berlin Straße
Image: AP

According to prosecutors, Hatin Sürücü grew up in Germany and was forced into a marriage with a cousin in Turkey in 1998.

Her son was born in Berlin in May 1999, and Sürücü subsequently refused to return to Turkey. Six months later, she moved out of her parents home and began to train as an electrician, turning her back on her conservative family.

Her youngest brother told the court he had visited his sister at home before walking with her to the nearby bus-stop. When she defended her way of life, he pulled out the gun he said he had bought off a Russian, and killed her.

"I couldn't take it," he said.

But according to the prosecution's version, it was actually the oldest brother who procured the weapon. They believe that Ayhan. S. and the third brother then went to their sister's house and persuaded her to go with them under false pretences. Ayhan S. then shot her, while his brother was an accessory to the crime.

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