Turkish judge to take cat torture case to top court

Turkish judge to take cat torture case to top court

Turkish judge to take cat torture case to top court

A judge who ruled for the release of a soldier sent to court after torturing a kitten will take the case to the Constitutional Court, in order to push for changes to Turkey’s animal welfare laws.

Taner Hepşen, a 25-year-old soldier, was detained in the eastern province of Erzincan on Dec. 4 after footage of him torturing a kitten recorded by a surveillance camera surfaced on social media, causing widespread fury.

Hepşen was referred to court over Article 151 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which concerns “damaging property” and “making a pet functionless or killing it without justification.”

The aforementioned law foresees a prison sentence between four months and three years or a judicial fine. Hepşen however, was released hours later on the condition of judicial control.

He was also fined 2,252 Turkish Liras as an administrative fine by the Erzincan Governor’s Office, for acting in a way that disturbs the peace of others while intoxicated and for physically abusing an animal.

The judge who issued the ruling will now take the case to the Constitutional Court, claiming that the difference in the law concerning pets and stray animals is a violation of the charter and needs to be regulated.

In his testimony, Hepşen had said he had broken up with his girlfriend four days before the incident and had therefore been in a bad psychological state.

He had also said he loved animals and was looking after one, adding that he had been under the influence of alcohol when the incident took place and expressed regret for what he had done.

Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu submitted a parliamentary question to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Dec. 5.

In his question, Tanrıkulu asked whether a disciplinary probe was launched into the soldier, while also seeking information on whether any changes would be made to the law on mistreating animals.

“When will laws that are insufficient and ineffective from preventing crimes against animals be regulated in a way that will satisfy the public conscience and be deterrent?” Tanrıkulu asked.