(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
ANKARA - A Turkish court on Tuesday sentenced a Syrian man to two life sentences for the murder of a Syrian opposition activist and her Syrian-American journalist daughter in Istanbul last year, the private Dogan news agency reported.
The bodies of Orouba Barakat and her daughter Halla Barakat were found in September in their apartment on Istanbul's Asian side.
The elder Barakat, a prominent political opponent of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, had been investigating reports of torture in prisons run by the Syrian government, Turkish media said at the time.
Her daughter, who was born in the United States, was an editor at Orient Net, a pro-Syrian opposition web site, and had also worked as a freelancer for U.S. TV network ABC.
Days after the murder, Turkish police arrested a distant relative of the women, Ahmet Barakat, in the city of Bursa, 90 km (55 miles) south of Istanbul. The motive for the killing remains unknown, media have reported.
Police identified Ahmet Barakat by CCTV footage and arrested him after a three-day operation, the Hurriyet newspaper said.
Orient Net described Halla Barakat as a "tireless" editor and investigator, and her mother as prominent opponent of Assad.
The U.S. State Department said last year it was "deeply saddened" by their deaths and called Orouba's work "courageous."