Turkish justice ministry to impose harsher penalties for child abuse

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 18.08.2016 21:38

The government said that it has been working to impose harsher penalties on sex offenders rather than decreasing the punishment for those crimes. The issue has come under the spotlight since Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said that "Turkey should cancel the decision that allows kids under 15 years of age to have sexual intercourse," adding that "Children should be protected more against violence and sexual intercourse, not less." Pointing out that the cancellation of the first two sentences of the first clause of Article 103 of the Turkish Penal Code as well as the second clause of the same article has not yet been officiated, authorities said that the decision granted by the Constitutional Court will come into force no earlier than Dec. 11 this year, adding that there are no loopholes in Article 103 and that the existing punishment for child abuse cases is still in effect.

The decision to cancel the aforementioned clauses of Article 103 includes plans to rearrange the cancelled portions within an exposure draft being prepared by the ministry. The latest information received indicates that the government is planning to increase penalties for offenders who engage in underage sexual intercourse rather than decreasing them.

The upcoming changes began on the instructions of Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who notes that sentencing for offenders in sexual abuse cases involving children younger than the age of 12 will be no less than 10 years while offenders in molestation cases will be sentenced to no less than five years.

The exposure draft prepared by the Justice Ministry will protect the provision that "Any person who sexually abuses a child will be sentenced anywhere from eight to 15 years, while that sentence decreases to three-to-eight years in cases of molestation," which is included in Article 103. It has also been revealed that a provision states that a penalty of imprisonment will be given for no less than 16 years with no chance for appeal in cases of child molestation involving the penetration of an organ with an object. The new arrangement aims to give a penalty no less than 18 years if the victim is younger than 12, increasing the time of the penalty for crimes against younger children."

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