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Bill in Turkish Parliament offers hope for 'stone-throwing children'

ANKARA - Daily News Parliament Bureau | 6/23/2010 12:00:00 AM |

A parliamentary commission passed a bill late Tuesday on 'stone-throwing children' in what was seen as a bid to show the government has not given up its Kurdish initiative.

Parliament’s Justice Commission passed a bill late Tuesday on punishments for “stone-throwing children” in what was seen as a bid to show that the government has not given up on its Kurdish initiative.

If the entire General Assembly passes the bill next week, cases dealing with minors who attend protests and are charged with membership in or making propaganda for a terrorist organization will be handled by juvenile courts instead of high criminal courts and the youth will receive reduced sentences, as long as they are first-time offenders.

The law would apply to the approximately 300 minors already in the judicial system on such charges. Minors who have thrown Molotov cocktails will be excluded from the sentencing reductions and release opportunities.

Members of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, stormed out of the Justice Commission meeting, objecting to the discussion of the bill in light of the recent casualties inflicted by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, also criticized the bill.

“From now on, you are responsible for exploited minors and the people who are harmed by these minors,” said Rıdvan Yalçın of the MHP, adding that the party’s deputies were uncomfortable holding such proceedings when the last victims of terror hadn’t even been laid to rest.

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