In the northern region of Turkey, the trial for the death of Jeannah “Dina” Danys Dinabongho Ibouanga, a 17-year-old Gabonese student whose body was found in a river in March, begins on November 8, 2023. Initially ruled as a suicide by the police, an investigation was later initiated due to public outrage. Several individuals were taken into custody, yet only one man is facing charges, leaving numerous questions unanswered.
The sole accused is a 55-year-old man. Surveillance footage depicted Dina exiting her vehicle and crossing a fence near the river where her lifeless body was discovered. According to the indictment, the suspect spent seven minutes by the riverbank before departing. Over seven months after the tragedy, Dina’s father, Guy Serge Ibouanga, expressed his distress on the eve of the trial’s commencement:
“Dina was our only child, and she had gone to Turkey to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Had we been aware of the presence of street gangs in Karabük, we would have never contemplated sending our daughter to study in this country. Thus, we implore that justice prevails to demonstrate to the world that Dina did not deserve such a fate.”
The use of the term “gangs” by Dina’s father stems from allegations by her family and Turkish feminist organizations that she had received sexually explicit messages, reported harassment, and encountered racist behavior.
The motives that compelled Dina to flee her residence barefoot on that fateful night remain uncertain. Jessica Sandra Makemba Panga, her mother, believes that this trial does not delve deep enough:
“The postal workers who were harassing the child are not mentioned in the indictment, and those who were pursuing her, their identities are unknown. There are cameras everywhere, and there is a witness who claims to have seen people chasing Dina. They must truly demonstrate that this was not racism. It occurred in their country, and they are aware.”
As the hearings commenced this morning, the alleged murderer faces a potential life sentence for “deliberate murder” and attempted sexual abuse.