Turkish government to increase sentences for child abuse

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The Turkish government announced tougher sentences for crimes against children on May 5, particularly for sex crimes, after two weeks of incidents that have hit the country’s headlines.

A draft bill prepared by the Family and Social Policies Ministry was discussed during the weekly Cabinet meeting and will be submitted to Parliament when work is completed, said Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, speaking at a press conference after the meeting.

“A new regulation extending the period before parole release for those convicted of certain criminal acts against children will be introduced. The extension for those convicted of sex crimes will be increased from two thirds [of the given sentence] to three quarters,” Arınç said.

“Those who have been sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment on charges of crimes against children will stay behind bars for 39 years instead of 30 years, and those who have been sentenced to life sentences on the same charges will be imprisoned for 33 years instead of 24 years,” he added.

The draft bill will also introduce heavier sentences against all kinds of sex crimes, including involving adults, Arınç also said, adding that more detailed information would soon be provided by the ministry.

Possible medical interventions, not including castration, are also being considered, Arınç added, stressing that the balance between crime and punishment was important.

The deputy prime minister also denied that the government was planning to reinstate capital punishment for such charges.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said that he personally thought capital punishment should be implemented for crimes against children, but Turkey had already banned the death penalty in line with the EU acquis.

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