Turkish court acquits three in murder of Syrian teenager

The family of a Syrian teenager who was beaten to death in a market in Turkey said they would appeal after a court acquitted three brothers charged with his murder and sentenced a fourth to less than four years in prison.

Hamza Al Ajjan, 17, was beaten to death in a popular market in the Gursu district of Bursa, a city in northwestern Turkey, in July 2020, following a dispute with four brothers.

A Syrian woman who wanted to buy tomatoes at the market approached the teenager to help her translate. Activists said Hamza was trying to stop the vegetable vendors who cheated on the woman from insulting her.

The Bursa Criminal Court issued its decision in a session last week attended by relatives of the victim and the defendants.

The court sentenced one brother to a prison term of three years and four months and acquitted the other three.

The victim’s family lawyer called the decision unfair and said they would appeal.

Mustafa Al Ajjan said his son suffered terrible injuries in the attack.

“Doctors tried to save him, but the head injuries were fatal. He was bleeding badly,” Mr Al Ajjan said.

“We hope justice will punish the perpetrators and bring justice to our son.”

Mr. Al Ajjan, said Al Arabiya chain that her son worked in the Turkish markets for seven years and was learning the Turkish language in an institute.

Hamza was 10 when he moved to Bursa with his parents and eight siblings.

The family sought refuge in Turkey in 2013 as security deteriorated in their village of Kafr Najd in Idlib governorate.

Turkey has hosted more than three million Syrians, out of a refugee population of more than four million, since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. The country has seen an increase in violence against refugees in recent years.

Updated: January 30, 2022, 2:49 p.m.

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