Turkey is considering aggravated sentences for child murderers and abusers, the deputy prime minister said yesterday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency's (AA)Editors' Desk in the capital Ankara, Recep Akdağ shed light on child abuses in the country. Referring to child rape and abuse cases, Akdağ said, "Perpetrators of malicious acts and child murderers will face aggravated life sentences."
He called on the media, opposition parties and all non-governmental organizations to support the upcoming legislative amendment on the issue. He went on to say that the identities of victims and their families should not be made public and that some measures would be taken to ensure the safety of victims and their families.
The matter was under the spotlight recently after a public outcry over the abuse of a 4-year-old girl by her neighbor. The government launched a joint committee of several ministries to come up with ways to fight the disturbing phenomenon. The commission is tasked with reducing risk of child abuse, protecting and rehabilitating victims throughout the judicial process as well as raising the awareness of children and families of the risks. The members of the commission are expected to conclude the legislative amendment proposals in the coming days.
Last week, the justice minister said Turkey will take all possible measures against child abusers, including chemical castration. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also warned that child abuse cases, which recently saw an apparent spike, could "lead to the collapse of our society".
Though courts usually hand down heavy sentences to perpetrators of child abuse, 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 is still in force.
Earlier this week, a court in the eastern city of Adıyaman sentenced a man to a record 572 years in prison for the abuse of 18 children. The convicted abuser was working as a cleaner at the dormitory of a boarding school. He was arrested after complaints by students two years ago.
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