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Turks up in arms over killing of stray cat

Turks up in arms over killing of stray cat
Source: Pixabay

The killing of a stray cat in Istanbul has triggered petitions, protests and death threats, pushing the president to intervene and the courts to retry the culprit.

On January 1, Ibrahim K. was caught on a security camera in the lobby of the building where he lived kicking to death a stray cat named Eros that his neighbours regularly fed.

He was sentenced in early February to 18 months in jail but was then released for good behaviour, sparking indignation among animal welfare groups and a section of the public in Turkey, whose large stray cat population is often fed and sheltered.

Some 320,000 people signed an online petition demanding a stiffer sentence and in late February the justice ministry said Ibrahim K. would be retried after it received a night-time call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying he was taking a “personal” interest in the case.

Ibrahim K. was retried on Wednesday in a court building where hundreds of people thronged the corridors and the atmosphere was tense.

The judges increased his sentence by one year but did not order him to be detained, ignoring the demands of animal welfare groups and internet trolls who have sent him death threats.

One animal rights group is to appeal, saying Ibrahim K. should be jailed for the maximum four years allowed by law.

On Thursday, the hashtag #JusticeforEros (#ErosicinAdalet) was trending on X, formerly Twitter, in Turkey and several major newspapers, including Hurriyet, splashed pictures of the dead cat on their front pages.

Hurriyet carried several articles about Eros and “Ibrahim the killer”.

Several celebrities have joined the Justice for Eros appeal, including Argentinian footballer Mauro Icardi, the star striker at Istanbul giants and reigning Turkish champions Galatasaray.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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