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Turkish court frees battered wife who killed abusive husband

Cilem Karabulut has been released on bail after huge media and public interest in case of domestic violence
Turkish women hold banners during a protest against Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 6 June, 2016 the day after he urged Turkish women to have at least three children, saying a woman's life was 'incomplete' if she did not (AFP)

A Turkish appeal court on Monday released on bail a young woman who murdered her husband after years of abuse in a case that has sparked huge debate in Turkey over domestic violence.  

Cilem Karabulut, 24, spent the last year behind bars and was sentenced to 15 years in jail earlier this month after a court found her guilty of shooting and killing her husband Hasan Karabulut, 33.

The mother of one has argued she shot her husband in self-defence and that she had been systematically abused by her husband who pressured to work as a prostitute.

The case has sparked huge debate in Turkey, with women’s rights groups jumping to Karabulut’s defence and arguing that the case was typical of the plight suffered by many women in Turkey where hundreds of women are killed by their husbands each year. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also fanned tensions in recent months, by making a string of controversial statements about women, including urging them to have at least three children. 

Bail has been set at 50,000 lira ($17,250) and Karabulut placed under judicial supervision, the Hurriyet daily said.

"We will continue our struggle. We will fight for all our women," Karabulut, who has a two-and-a-half year daughter, said after her release.

She had caught the media’s attention by wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan in English: "Dear Past, thanks for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready."

“I walked in the court’s corridors with bruises on my face to get protection orders. I didn’t have any other options left,” said Karabulut in the courtroom during the final hearing of the case on 8 June.

According to the non-governmental Platform to Stop Violence Against Women, 291 women were murdered in Turkey in 2015 and 113 so far this year.

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