Life imprisonment for attempted femicide in Hamburg

In the trial for the attempted murder of Meryem S. from Hamburg and her two children, the perpetrator, Kalender Erdoğan, has been sentenced to life in prison. The crime was classified as "planned, prepared and purposefully implemented".

In the trial for the attempted murder of Meryem S. and her two children, the Hamburg Regional Court handed down a life sentence to the perpetrator, Kalender Erdoğan. The 50-year-old was found guilty of attempted murder in combination with dangerous and grievous bodily harm and aggravated arson. Women's rights activists welcomed the decision, but also criticized the court for taking 35 sitting days to try the defendant's crimes. Before the verdict was announced, about 30 people gathered in front of the Criminal Justice Building at Sievekingplatz from the early morning to take their solidarity and support for Meryem S. and her children to the streets and into the courtroom. They were accompanied by several cameras and journalists.

Injured with razor, then set on fire

It is one year and three days since Meryem S. was attacked by her ex-husband with a razor in her apartment in Hamburg. Previously, the then 40-year-old woman had declared that the separation from him was final. When the then ten-year-old son came to the mother's aid, Kalender Erdoğan doused the two of them and the twelve-year-old daughter with gasoline. Then he set the woman and the son on fire. He also set himself on fire with gasoline. The daughter was able to escape to the balcony of the apartment and call for help.

Death of family prevented only by "medical skill”

In handing down the verdict, the judge stated that the act had been "planned, prepared and purposefully implemented" and that the perpetrator had been classified as "fully culpable." An act of passion was ruled out, as Kalender Erdoğan had asked work colleagues where knives and gasoline were readily available in the run-up to the crime. A lighter sentence was therefore not possible, he said, adding that the man had caused "endless suffering" to the family "out of a selfish motive." "He knew and has cheaply accepted that it can lead to death [...]". This was prevented only by "medical art", the court said.

Perpetrator holds Meryem S. responsible

In the perpetrator's admission it can be seen that he is not aware of his own responsibility for the act and blames his ex-wife for everything. The man downplayed his act and wanted to interpret it as negligent bodily injury. He said he would have wanted to hurt her only to show how she had hurt him. The fact that the knife attack on neck, shoulder and back only scarcely and by luck missed the carotid artery of Meryem S., and any calls for help and requests to desist from the act were mercilessly ignored by the perpetrator, speaks for itself. However, contrary to the prosecution's request, the court did not establish the particular gravity of the guilt on the grounds that the perpetrator - even if through his own fault - was himself scarred for life by the crime and the daily pain. Thus, it was announced that: "the defendant has incurred serious guilt". The verdict is not yet final.

Clear demand: Name femicides

At the end of the solidary support, a statement was made on behalf of the circle of supporters for Meryem. Among other things, the statement demanded that femicides be named as such: "It was stated in the verdict that it does not remain with the act alone, but that it also has lifelong consequences, both physical and psychological. At this point it is again important to state that the structurally anchored patriarchal system of domination and the gender-related dimension were not named as such in the pronouncement of the verdict. Thus, the demand that Germany take a clear position with regard to gender-based violence and recognize femicides must still be named clearly with emphasis. As well as the responsibility that an entire society bears responsibility to ensure that femicides do not become part of everyday life. It is to be wished for Meryem S. and her children that they will continue to experience a lot of support in the future.”