Laws OK, ‘prosecution process problematic’
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA Photo.Turkey’s penalties for violence against women are strict enough for suspects to get the necessary sentences, and the problem is with the prosecution process, during which judges have discretionary power, Family and Social Policies Minister Ayşenur İslam has said.
“The system is suitable for regeneration and the implementation of the heaviest sanctions,” İslam said, adding that aggravated life sentences are mostly spent alone inside a cell for 36 years, clearly referring to the current debate about the penalty that will be given to the three murder suspects of the brutally killed 20-year-old Özgecan Aslan.
“It is not about the origin of the law itself, but a problem with the prosecution process. It is all in the discretion of the judge. As judges are independent, we cannot say ‘it should be like this or like that,’ but I believe judges should never use their discretionary power toward perpetrators,” İslam said on Feb. 20.
Stating that the increase in violent cases was not endemic to Turkey and violence around the world had increased, she referred to research conducted in 28 EU countries last year that revealed that a third of all women were a victim of physical or sexual harassment.
İslam also said the panic button system was effective “to an extent,” but the “electronic wristband” system, that is currently being used by the Interior and Justice Ministries was more effective. She said a pilot project with men guilty of violence against women would start to be used.