Ms. Surucu’s youngest brother, Ayhan, admitted that he had killed her, and he was jailed for nine years in a German prison.
But his brothers — Mutlu, now 38, and Alparslan, now 36 — have been acquitted twice of helping him: first in Germany in 2006, and again on Tuesday when they were found not guilty at a separate trial in Istanbul because of a lack of evidence.
Mutlu Surucu had previously spoken approvingly of his sister’s death. But a crucial prosecution witness who might have been able to offer evidence that the brothers had cooperated in the killing — Ayhan Surucu’s ex-girlfriend — did not appear to testify in the Istanbul trial, according to Leyla Suren, a lawyer with the Initiative Against Femicide, a Turkish rights-advocacy group, who attended the hearing.
The potential witness, known in court records only as Melek A, could not be found at her last known address in Germany, and no other witnesses were able to provide clear evidence to buttress the prosecution’s case. The Initiative Against Femicide was also denied the right to testify, Ms. Suren said.
“In this courtroom, only the prosecutor was speaking for Hatun Surucu — so Hatun Surucu was once again alone,” Ms. Suren said.
A child of Turkish-Kurdish immigrants, Ms. Surucu was brought up in Germany before her father pulled her out of school and sent her back to her family’s ancestral village in Turkey, where at 16 she was forced to marry a cousin, according to German news reports.
After the marriage ended in divorce, she returned to Berlin and gave birth to a…