Women protest for Nagihan Akarsel in front of the UN Office in Qamishlo

Women demand justice for Kurdish academic Nagihan Akarsel who was killed in Sulaymaniyah in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) a year ago.

The Kurdish journalist, academic and women’s rights defender Nagihan Akarsel was assassinated when leaving her home in Bakhtiary district in the town center of Sulaymaniyah on 4th October 2022.

While the killer of Nagihan Akarsel was identified as Ismail Peker from Ankara, hired by the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MIT) to carry out the assassination, no legal steps have been taken to date to convict the perpetrator and clarify the political background of this murder.

Members of the Jineology Academy and women’s organizations in North-East Syria gathered in front of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Qamishlo to demand justice for the slain Kurdish activist. The women read out the open letter to the international community, signed by hundreds of activists, politicians, journalists and writers, which demands an end to impunity concerning the extra-judicial killing of Nagihan Akarsel and all crimes of feminicide.

Appealing to the United Nations and all concerned institutions to take urgent and effective action, the letter reads: “By demanding justice for Nagihan Akarsel, we demand justice for all women who have been subjected to extra-judicial killings and other forms of feminicide. We request that the international community takes urgent measures to defend the lives and rights of women.”

The group called on the international community to take action to ensure justice for Akarsel, noting that no lawsuit has been opened into her assassination yet.

The signatories of the open letter demand the prosecution and conviction of the perpetrators responsible for the assassination of Nagihan Akarsel and all other extra-judicial killings; closure of Iraqi and Syrian airspace for the Turkish Air Force, including armed and unarmed UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles); urging Turkey to stop its illegal attacks, politics of occupation, war, and systematic assassinations of women rights defenders and people living in any part of Kurdistan, especially with regards to the territories of Iraq and North and East Syria; prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity – including genocide and feminicide - committed by Erdogan and the AKP government, in accordance with international law; ensuring justice for Jina Emini and all other women in Iran who have been assassinated, tortured or imprisoned due to struggling for women’s rights and freedom.