Cousin and killer of Syrian activists 'confesses to murders'
The killer of a prominent Syrian activist and her daughter has confessed to the two murders, reports said on Saturday.
Ahmed Barakat, a relative of Ouroba Barakat and her daughter Halla, revealed he had killed the two women in Istanbul two weeks earlier, because he had not been paid a salary after being employed by his cousin.
"I am the one who killed Orouba and Hala Barakat, I admit it. They are both my relatives. Orouba is my father's cousin," Ahmed Baraka told Turkey’s magistrate's court.
"When I was in Syria, my father and my older brother were killed in the war. I decided to escape in order to get rid of the pressure that was exerted on me to join the forces of the Syrian regime," he explained.
"Orouba told me that I could come see her if I'm ever in Turkey. So I came to Turkey illegally and started working with Orouba."
But Ahmed Barakat, who says he regrets the killings, said he was invited to Orouba's house that night to receive his salary after quitting.
"I went to see her that night (the night of the crime) in her house. In the morning, I asked for my money. She said she gave the money to someone else and she had no money left. I got angry and started yelling at her face. She slapped me so I pushed her," he told the court.
"Before I left the house, Orouba brought a knife and pointed it at me, but I took it from her and killed her. Her daughter, Hala, came out of the bathroom. She started screaming when she saw her mother soaked in blood. I asked her to stop but she didn't comply so I killed her too. I left the knife in the kitchen and returned to Bursa (south of Istanbul)," he said.
Activist Orouba and daughter Halla Barakat were stabbed to death in their apartment on 21 September.
The suspect was arrested in Bursa and detained by police shortly after, Turkish media said at the time.
They were found dead in their apartment in Uskudar district on the Asian side of Istanbul.
The mother and daughter were well-known opponents of the Syrian regime.
Friends and family members initially pointed towards the activists' work opposing Syria's Bashar al-Assad, however Ahmed denied being paid or directed by any party to commit the crime.