Turkey’s Family Ministry objects after court acquits sexual assaulter
İsmail Saymaz - İSTANBUL
Turkey’s Family and Social Policies Ministry has filed an objection in a legal case in which a court acquitted a man who sexually assaulted a woman on a street in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir.
A 20-year-old woman was first followed and then sexually assaulted by a 33-year-old ex-convict in the city center of Eskişehir last year.
The assault, as well as the mugging of the woman’s cellphone by a 17-year-old high school student who joined the man, was captured by CCTV cameras and confirmed by witnesses at the Eskişehir 1st Heavy Penal Court.
The prosecution charged the adult assailant for “aggravated sexual assault attempt,” citing his DNA sample found on the woman’s clothing as another piece of evidence.
The court judges, however, acquitted the man unanimously, stating that it was not conclusively proven that he had committed the crime.
The younger suspect, meanwhile, was convicted of mugging.
“Sexual crimes can only be prevented by an effective penal system. They have acquitted a crime machine. They are releasing criminals and perverts onto the street,” said the victim’s attorney, Pınar Çelik Arpacı, adding that the assailant was previously convicted in more than 30 cases including coercion and plundering.
After the ruling the Family and Social Policies Ministry intervened in the case, filing an appeal to a higher court, Hürriyet has learned.
“A woman who was walking in the street alone was sexually assaulted. The criminal process began after the victim’s screams were heard by locals who saw her and called the police,” the ministry’s appeal said, adding that the “ruling hurt the public conscience.”
The prosecution also filed an appeal in the case.