Turkish court reaffirms state’s duty to protect women’s right to go out at night
Oya Armutçu - ANKARA
A high court in Turkey has reaffirmed in its latest ruling the state’s duty to protect women’s right to go out at night.
A foreign woman was sexually assaulted and robbed by the driver of a public bus in Ankara at night last year.
A heavy penal court in Ankara had sentenced the driver, İbrahim Tuncay, to more than 34 years in prison after refusing his argument for a lighter sentence suggesting that the woman should not have been out in the street at 11 p.m. and she had “consent.”
After his request was rejected by a higher court, Tuncay had filed his final appeal to Turkey’s Court of Cassation.
The Court of Cassation’s 14th Penal Chamber upheld the earlier rulings in a final verdict on June 6, stressing that issuing the maximum possible sentence in the case was the right decision.
According to the ruling, going out at any time she wants is a woman’s constitutional right, which is under the guarantee of the state.
The ruling will set a precedent in similar cases in the future, disallowing a man’s defence claiming that a woman going out late at night can be a matter of mitigation in cases on sexual offences.
Hüsniye Şimşek, the attorney of the victim in the latest case, told Hürriyet that the Court of Cassation’s ruling is “important, but deficient.”
She stressed that the convicted should have also been sentenced for attempted murder, which could increase the number of years he would serve in prison on top of the current 34-year-long sentence.
Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu (We Will Stop Femicides Platform), an association that monitors cases of violence against women, had also filed an appeal to the earlier rulings, demanding a heavier jail sentence for attempted murder.
The association counted 409 murders of women or girls in Turkey in 2017 and 328 in 2016.
Violence against women is a recurrent issue in Turkey.
Thousands of women took to the streets across Turkey to mark the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Nov. 26.