Turkish court sets child sexual abuse suspect free after 59 days
DİYARBAKIRA court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has released a child sexual abuse suspect after 59 days even though the local chief prosecutor’s office had sought a jail sentence of between three and eight years for the suspect, Doğan News Agency reported May 31.
The incident was reportedly uncovered in February when the father of the 13-year-old victim reportedly discovered sexually explicit social media messages from the 33-year-old suspect, who is married with three children, to his son.
“I love you. We’ll go home. I’ll first give you 50 Turkish Liras. Then I’ll give you 100 Turkish Liras. If you give me what I want, I will give you however much you want. I really liked you. If we come to terms and love each other, I’ll do anything,” the suspect, named as Mustafa Atsız, reportedly told the 13-year-old in one of his messages.
Pretending to be his son, the victim’s father reportedly messaged the suspect back, telling him to meet him.
But once the suspect, a security guard who drives an armored bank car, saw the father instead of the 13-year-old at the meeting place, he fled the scene.
The Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the incident and demanded that the suspect be given between three and eight years in jail, after which the Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on Feb. 28 for the suspect.
“I thought the person I saw on Facebook was an adult woman,” the suspect told a court on May 31. “When I asked the person their age, they said 13. I asked for their phone number to be sure. Thinking that the person was kidding with me on social media, I decided to meet. I went to the meeting place with the bank’s vehicle. At that point, I saw that the person was a little child. And once the father saw me, I ran away.”
The court sentenced the suspect to three years and nine months in jail on charges of “sexual harassment” but then moved to set him free due to the 59 days he had already spent in jail and because he was not deemed to be a flight risk.
The Family and Social Policies Ministry, indicating that the court’s decision was against law, appealed to the Gaziantep Regional Courts of Justice.
“Any kind of sexual behavior toward children is abuse. Any sentence given on account of ‘sexual harassment’ should be removed. The action [again children] is not harassment, but is within the context of sexual abuse,” said Remzi Atalay, a lawyer for the ministry.
“For a crime of sexual abuse to be realized, it is enough that sexual behavior is exhibited toward the child,” Atalay said, arguing that “violation of the body” did not have to the sole reason for an action to be considered as “sexual abuse.”