Man sentenced to 20 months in prison on charges of ‘sexual assault,’ but sentence postponed
DİYARBAKIRA 19-year-old man, identified only by the initials İ.K., has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old Japanese tourist on the Diyarbakır-Muş highway in southeastern Turkey, but has had his sentence postponed for “good conduct.”
İ.K. was initially sentenced to two years in prison, but the court reduced this sentence to 20 months due to his “good conduct” during the trial. It then ruled to postpone the sentence, convinced that the defendant would not commit a crime again.
The controversial verdict has sparked debate in Turkey over whether Özgecan Aslan’s murder suspects will also receive good conduct abatements.
In 2011, a Japanese tourist, identified as A.I., was reportedly sexually assaulted by minibus driver İ.K.
“While we were on the Diyarbakır-Muş highway, he stopped the vehicle and came to the back of the bus. When I resisted, he slapped me, pulled my hair and sexually assaulted me. Later, he kicked me off of the bus,” she said in her testimony.
After the suspect left the scene, A.I. stated she wrote “help” on a piece of paper. With the help of a passerby, A.I. was able to go to a bus terminal, from where she took a bus to the nearby city of Van.
After A.I. filed a complaint, a prosecutor launched an investigation and sent the case to the Muş Prosecutor’s Office. Later, they sent the file to the Lice District Prosecutor’s Office in Diyarbakır.
[HH] Jaw structure reveals suspect’s identity
A.I. gave a detailed description of the suspect in her statement, from which he was able to be identified.
“He introduced himself as ‘İbrahim.’ He had brown hair and was not able to close his mouth properly because of a problem with his jaw,” she reportedly said.
After being detained, İ.K. refuted all allegations, saying the two had simply had an argument.
“I’m the person the victim mentioned. On the day of the incident, I picked the victim up. While we were in the minibus we began to argue about something, then I dropped her off on the way and never saw her again,” he said in his testimony to police.
He was charged, but was tried without arrest.
The fingerprints found on A.I.’s shirt did not match with those of the suspect, but the suspect’s cellphone signals confirmed that he was in Muş on the day of the incident, contrary to what he claimed.
In the final hearing of the case, the prosecutor demanded that İ.K. be sentenced up to 7 years in prison on charges of “sexual assault,” while his lawyer Hanifi Dündar demanded that he be acquitted.
Sentence postponed due to ‘good conduct’
After the break, the court decided to sentence İ.K. to two years in prison, however, due to the defendant’s “good conduct” during the trial, the sentence was reduced to 20 months. It subsequently ruled that the suspect was unlikely to commit another crime and decided to postpone the sentence, allowing İ.K. to walk free.