Hatun Surucu was 23 when her life ended at a Berlin bus stop a dozen years ago, three bullets fired into her head. The German-born ethnic Kurd's killer, her youngest brother, Ayhan, was allegedly avenging the family's honor—Hatun Surucu had divorced the husband she'd been forced to marry at 16, shunned a headscarf, and had begun dating again. He spent nine years in a German prison. Brothers Mutlu and Alparslan Surucu were eventually acquitted in 2006 of helping Ayhan Surucu; even though that acquittal was eventually overturned when Ayhan Surucu's ex-girlfriend testified that they'd helped to plan the murder, they were allowed to return to the family's native Turkey. On Tuesday, the New York Times reports, the two older brothers were acquitted a second time as accomplices, this time in a trial in Turkey.
In a 2011 documentary, Mutlu Surucu justified the killing by his sister's "lifestyle change," asking "Why does a woman need to dress up so prettily? ... To attract men." Turkey eventually arrested the two early last year, but this most recent trial lacked key testimony: That of the ex-girlfriend, who could not be located. Says a lawyer with Turkey's Initiative Against Femicide group, "In this courtroom, only the prosecutor was speaking for Hatun Surucu—so Hatun Surucu was once again alone."