Kids charged with terror to be tried as juveniles
ANKARA - RadikalThe Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal from a local Juvenile Court, which filed a lawsuit for the abolition of a number of clauses in the law known as the “stone-throwing children law.”
The local court argued in its appeal that the law caused weaknesses in fighting terrorism and gives privileges to children joining in protests. They should thus be punished as adults. The Constitutional Court rejected the cancellation appeal.
The domestic court objected to imposing optional sanctions such as not increasing the penalties of children charged with terror crimes, their being judged in juvenile courts instead of special courts, and the suspension of the penalties.
While children found guilty of propagandizing for the separatist terror organization are not charged with the crime of being a member of a terror organization, adults charged with the same crimes are sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison. This is against the principle of equality in the constitution, the local court said.
The court argued that children joining protests in favor of terror organizations became privileged with this regulation.
The Supreme Court dismissed the case unanimously and emphasized that modern states made a distinction between adult and juvenile criminals.
“Even though they commit the crimes with the aim of terror, not increasing the punishment to the same level as for adult criminals, is not against the principle of equality. The children who are led to crimes are different from adult criminals in terms of appeal capability; mental, psychological and physical maturity to evaluate the crime’s causes and effects; their ability to conduct valid legal transactions, self-defense and representing themselves to strangers,” the Supreme Court said.
There has been an ongoing discussion as to which criteria stone throwing children should be judged and which penalties to be imposed upon them.