Amid public outrage over increased child sex abuse incidents, the government is considering introducing chemical castration for child sex offenders. A committee of ministries will discuss the issue today. The director of a leading women's nonprofit organization joined a growing chorus of supporters of chemical castration and tougher sentences for sex offenders.
"We propose the government revise a cancelled regulation on chemical castration and legalize it," Associate Professor Sare Aydın Yılmaz, head of the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), told Anadolu Agency (AA). The government had introduced chemical castration of sex offenders a few years ago, but a top court cancelled it in 2016 as the regulation did not define limits for castration. Later, the regulation was only limited to pedophiles. Media outlets reported that with the government's new proposal, chemical castration would be applied to all sex offenders.
Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül announced that chemical castration - which gradually eliminates or reduces one's libido and sexual impulses - was on the agenda along with heftier sentences for convicted offenders. The announcement came weeks after an outcry over the attempt rape of a 4-year-old girl by her neighbor in southern Turkey. The suspect was arrested after the girl's family caught him in the act. It was preceded by many similar incidents in the past years as well as the discovery of dozens of underage girls who have birth at an Istanbul hospital, which had gone unreported to authorities.
"The public expects the heaviest sentence for such crimes and the removal of 'good manners' reduction," Yılmaz said, referring to a controversial law that allows defendants to receive quite lenient sentences for serious offenses if a court deems that the defendant "showed respect to the court members" during the trial process and has no criminal history. "Along with tougher sentences, preventive measures and raising awareness in the public of how to combat sexual abuse are needed," she added.
Chemical castration is currently practiced in several countries in various forms, including seven states in the United States, Russia, South Korea, Poland and Indonesia.
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