Prosecutors are seeking up to 15 years in jail for eight sergeants accused of raping a 16-year-old girl several times in the eastern province of Bingöl.
The indictment charging the sergeants, who are being tried without arrest, for “abuse of a child” was accepted July 30 by a local court, and the trial is set to start on Sept. 3, a lawyer for the victim said.
Lawyer Canan Çakabey also said she would demand that the suspects be arrested on the grounds that they are a flight risk. The court had controversially refused to arrest seven of the sergeants, with only one defendant awaiting trial behind bars.
Meanwhile, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin has said the sergeants have been dismissed by the Turkish Armed Forces.
“The trials are continuing. Our state is firm in its determined attitude. The Gendarmerie General Command has just dismissed these eight people,” Şahin wrote on her official Twitter account.
The victim, identified only by the initials E.A., lives in the Solhan district of Bingöl and filed an official complaint in May, in which she stated that five sergeants had repeatedly sexually abused and raped her over the last two years. Four of the five sergeants, who were initially detained as part of the investigation, were later released following an appeal made to the court. The prosecutors also decreed that the investigation should be confidential.
Çakabey said the dismissal of the officers created a circumstance justifying the arrest of the soldiers involved in the case. “When we asked for the arrest of the sergeants, we did not know that they had been dismissed. Were they dismissed then or now? We don’t know, but we will note all this as a justification for our demand for their arrest. The possibility of escape now has a concrete basis,” she said.
“My friends [at the ministry] are investigating the issue in its all details. If necessary, we will be involved in the case as the ministry,” Şahin tweeted in June.
The suspects are forbidden from approaching the minor’s school or house for six months, while E.A. will also be protected against possible threats coming from suspects via the phone or the Internet, Şahin also added.