Turkey’s top court yet to make decision on case of maid found dead in AKP deputy’s home

Nadira Kadirova (R) and Şirin Ünal

The lawyer for the family of Nadira Kadirova said the Turkish Constitutional Court has not delivered a decision despite the passage of 18 months on their appeal to restart an investigation into the circumstances of her death.

According to Turkish media, lawyer İlyas Doğan said they were expecting the court to rule in their favor although it seemed as though the judicial process had been halted. “The case is now with the Constitutional Court and in its final stages,” he said. “We are currently a waiting a ruling from the court and hope that it will not be delayed any longer. I hope the fact that a political figure is a suspect in this case is not why the decision has been delayed.”

Twenty-three-year-old Kadirova was working as a maid in the home of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Şirin Ünal when she was found dead on September 23, 2019 with gunshot wounds to the chest. The gun that killed her belonged to Ünal. Kadirova’s death was ruled a suicide and the case was closed.

Crime scene photographs revealed that her room looked like there had been a struggle as there was an overturned vase, lamp, coffee table and flowers scattered over the floor. The photographs also show pools of blood in four different places in the room.

Doğan objected to the decision, saying an effective crime scene investigation had not been conducted, but his objection was rejected.

A report from the Ankara Police Department’s forensics branch said there were no traces of gunshot residue on Kadirova’s hands, which were checked several hours after the incident, according to the lawyer.

Other images show that Ünal’s daughter, Duygu Ünal, was also present during the crime scene investigation. Doğan said this was completely against protocol as nobody except the investigators should have been inside the house when the investigation was under way.

Women’s activists have argued that Kadirova’s death was highly suspicious and that they feared a cover-up. The We Want to Live initiative (Yaşamak İstiyoruz) released a statement and demanded that the truth behind Kadirova’s death be determined.

“This case cannot be covered up. We women are asking you, did Nadira commit suicide, or was she killed? Even if she died by suicide, what drove her to take her own life?” they asked.

The statement also asked why Kadirova’s body was quickly sent home to Uzbekistan and whether allegations by Kadirova’s friends that Ünal had sexually assaulted her were true.

Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), brought the issue to the Turkish Parliament and asked why the investigation into the death had been rushed and the case hastily closed.

Speaking to BBC Turkish service, Müjde Tozbey Erden, a lawyer and president of the Children and Women First Association (Önce Çocuklar ve Kadınlar), said she was providing pro-bono legal assistance to Kadirova’s family. She said Kadirova’s death and the fact that she had told her friends she was sexually assaulted by a lawmaker made the circumstances very suspicious.

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