Murderer of Syrian activist gets life term in Istanbul

A criminal high court in Istanbul on Tuesday sentenced a convict to two life terms after he confessed to murdering a Syrian anti-Assad activist and her young journalist daughter, according to a judicial source.

Ahmad Barakat was given a life term in prison for the deliberate killing of 60-year-old Orouba Barakat.

The court also sentenced the convict to an aggravated life sentence on the charges of deliberate killing with the aim of covering up a crime and tampering with evidence, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.

Orouba Barakat and her 22-year-old daughter Halla were found dead in their apartment in Uskudar, a neighborhood on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, on Sept. 22, 2017.

The convict was arrested in northwestern Bursa province on Sept. 30 after he was spotted in a security footage recovered from an apartment building, a police source said.

The indictment said the convict confessed to killing the mother when she refused to give him money and later murdered her daughter as well to remove all witnesses to his crime.

He also said he came to Turkey after fleeing the civil war in Syria and would sometimes meet with the two women, who were his relatives.

Orouba Barakat was a human rights activist who had opposed the Syrian regimes of Hafez al-Assad and Bashar al-Assad since the 1980s, according to the Syrian Revolution Network, an opposition media group.

The deaths were not the first tragedy to hit the Barakat family in recent years.

In February 2015, Deah Barakat, a close relative of the murdered women, was shot dead alongside his wife and her sister in the U.S. state of North Carolina.

The son of Shaza Barakat, Orouba Barakat's sister, was also killed by the regime in Syria.

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