Court accepts indictment on horrific child abuse case

Court accepts indictment on horrific child abuse case

Court accepts indictment on horrific child abuse case

An Istanbul court has accepted an indictment on a controversial child abuse lawsuit filed by a 24-year-old woman, who alleged that she was forcibly married at the age of 6, with the prosecutor asking for a prison sentence of over 67 years for her “ex-husband” and 22-and-a-half-years for each of her parents.

The woman, identified only by the initials H.K.G., accused her father, Yusuf Ziya Gümüşel, the head of the Hiranur Foundation affiliated with İsmailağa Jamia, of forcibly marrying her to a sect member in 2004 when she was just 6.

The allegations came to the country’s agenda and caused a bombardment of cursing posts on social media platforms when a daily published the story on Dec. 3.

According to the indictment, H.K.G. applied at the prosecutor’s office on Nov. 30, 2020, just after she was divorced from Kadir İstekli, alleged to be her husband by the imam marriage at the age of 6 and legal marriage at 18.

The prosecutor asked for an over 67-year prison sentence for İstekli with charges of “child abuse” and “sexual assault.” Another 22-and-a-half-year prison sentence was asked for each of H.K.G.’s parents on the charge of “sexual harassment of children.”

The first hearing of the lawsuit will be on May 22, 2023.

An inspector has been appointed to monitor the Hiranur Foundation, which sits at the center of the lawsuit, the country’s culture and tourism minister said.

Addressing the Turkish parliament on Dec. 8, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy highlighted that his ministry has started an investigation against the foundation affiliated with the İsmailağa Jamia.

“A head inspector has started the works. Detailed monitoring is ongoing,” the minister added.

The Hiranur Foundation was founded by Gümüşel in 2006 in Istanbul. The foundation teaches Quran and Islamology to some 750 students in five private teaching institutions inside its headquarters based in the Sancaktepe district.

According to its official website, which has been closed since the allegations came to light, the foundation has dormitories, a kitchen, dining halls, a bakery, a tailor shop, a barber shop and a small mosque inside the complex.

Gümüşel family denied the allegations, saying that H.K.G. is suffering from some mental illnesses.

Her two sisters testified that they “never heard their father asking any of the sisters to marry at early ages.”

“My daughter was engaged at the age of 16 and legally married at 18. She was mentally depressed after suffering a miscarriage. She was talking fantasia,” H.K.G.’s mother, Fatma Gümüşel, alleged.

The indictment also includes voice recordings between H.K.G. and İstekli, with the “couple” discussing how “their marriage” would be healthy if they did not have sexual intercourse when she was just 6.

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