Istanbul, May 7 () - A Turkish university student who triggered a public outcry with a video showing him torturing a cat to death last year was sentenced to three years in prison on May 6.
Mustafa Can Aksoy, a 21-year-old student at Eskişehir University in central Anatolia, had filmed the spine-chilling footage video himself. The video, which shows him torturing a local cafe’s cat named İletki (Quadrant), was shot in September 2013 and leaked online in February 2014.
The outrage led to widespread calls for heavier sentences for animal abusers in Turkey.
The Eskişehir 4th Criminal Court of First Instance issued the harshest possible verdict on May 6. Judge Orhan Küçükfidancı refused to lighten the jail sentence, stating that his “conscience told him that Aksoy’s expressed regret was not sincere.”
Lawyer Mustafa Çakı, who is also a spokesperson for the Justice for Animals Platform, described the verdict as a “milestone,” showing that the Turkish legal system considers animals to be living beings, not just property.
Claiming that he was drunk at the time the video was shot, Aksoy had caused further controversy at the first hearing of his trial in Eskişehir on July 16, 2014 by offering to pay the cat’s owners “expenses related to the cat.”