Following the stabbing deaths of two sisters in Turkey two years ago, as justice for their deaths moved forward, they were buried in Istanbul in a ceremony on Friday.
The court had previously sentenced the man convicted of killing them both, Akif Dogan, to death. Another man was sentenced to life, while a fifth is awaiting trial.
Covid Puri-Yoo, 28, Kveta Puri, 27, and their friend Guoliang San, 23, were stabbed to death in the courtyard of a home in Sur on New Year’s Eve 2014. The home was owned by the family of the brother of Akif Dogan, a former colleague of Guoliang San’s. The pair and three others, including two maids, were socialising before the attack took place.
During the appeal trial, Tugrul, the other maid who was in court with San, testified she saw Dogan in a thrashing mood, but did not see him chasing them.
“I did not hear Dogan threaten any of them at all,” Tugrul said. “At that moment he found the two girls and suddenly started punching them. It was not even then that I saw him take out a knife and start stabbing them.”
Covid Puri-Yoo, Guoliang San and Kveta Puri. Photograph: Turkish Medical Association
The sisters had been teaching English at a school in Ankara. Guoliang San was an MBA student at a university in the city and worked as a hotel receptionist in Istanbul.
Dogan was found guilty in 2016 of murder, torture and aggravated wounding. (Guoliang San had also been found guilty in absentia of murder, but there is no protocol for that conviction to be handed down.) The prosecution’s new application to the Istanbul appeals court comes after a ruling from a lower court last month which found Dogan not guilty of rape, which could have added another year to his sentence.
This latest appeal process has highlighted issues with the judicial system in Turkey. Puri’s lawyers repeatedly failed to press for trial by jury and asked only for a simple quashing of the previous verdict.
After the 2015 court conviction, Turkey abolished the death penalty. Yet because the Turks have not abolished the death penalty altogether, Dogan will not have the sentence officially executed.