No reduced sentence for sexual offenders: Turkish family minister

No reduced sentence for sexual offenders: Turkish family minister

ANKARA
No reduced sentence for sexual offenders: Turkish family minister

The Turkish government is working on new a regulation which could eliminate the reduction of sentences over good conduct in cases of sexual abuse and violence against women, Turkey’s Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya has said.

“As a mother, I want it to be eliminated, and I would stop it this instance if I had the authority,” Sayan Kaya said on Feb. 25 in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk.

“But we are working on legal amendments to stop that practice,” she added.

“We see that in England abusers of children younger than 12 years of age and in some countries abusers of children younger than nine years of age receive heavier penalties. We are working on similar regulations,” the minister said.

The Turkish Penal Code gives judges the authority to reduce sentences up to by one sixth considering the suspect’s past, social relations, the impact of the punishment on the suspect’s future and his or her behaviors after the crime and during the trial.

Death penalty for sexual offenders is not on the government’s agenda, Sayan Kaya said, stating that the legislative regulations concerning the sexual abuse of children will include “hormonal treatment following the end of a relavant prison sentence.”

“What we are working on is not emasculation, it is castration, that means the suppression of testosterone hormones,” the minister said.

Her comments came as Turkey is engaged in a heated debate about the abuse and mistreatment of children after the sexual abuse of a four-year-old in the southern province of Adana made headlines on Feb. 10.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials have responded to the outrage by bringing the issue to the cabinet’s agenda, as ministers called for a legal change that would stipulate harsher punishments for child abusers.

A commission of six ministers has been formed to work on the legislative package and held its first meeting on Feb. 22.

AKP officials stated that harsh punishments would include “chemical castration,” igniting new debate as castration is currently not in Turkish legislation.

Sayan Kaya responded to the discussions concerning the details of regulations, stating that “castration” means the suppression of hormones and it would only be implemented after the accused fully serves their sentence.

She also stated that “death sentence” is not on the commission’s agenda which works on “heavy penalties like the life sentence.”

Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, child abuse, minister