A court in the western province of İzmir has reduced the sentence handed down to a suspect standing trial on charges of sexually abusing a woman after the suspect in his defense said he thought the woman he harassed was a transvestite.
In line with the İzmir 36th Heavy Penalty Court’s decision, the defendant’s penalty was reduced from three years to two and a half years in prison.
The incident occurred on Aug. 10, 2017, the court files have indicated. The suspect, who was riding a motorcycle at the time, was reported to have touched the woman’s hips while she was walking on a sidewalk. He then fled the scene.
The police determined the man’s identity from city surveillance cameras, and a lawsuit was filed against him on charges of “sexual abuse at the level of molestation,” with a demand for imprisonment from two to five years in jail.
The suspect in his defense said he was riding his motorcycle on İzmir’s central avenue, which he called a place where “transvestites roam around,” and “jokingly” touched the woman’s hips. “I thought she was a transvestite. I offer my apologies to her, I regret what I did,” he said.
The suspect’s friend was sitting on the back of the motorcycle on the day of the incident and was listened to by the court as an eyewitness. The eyewitness said, during the trial, that when he previously asked his friend why he sexually harassed the woman, he had told him: “They are transvestites, they like it when you do these kinds of things.”
On Jan. 4, the court first sentenced the suspect to three years, but after “taking into account the suspect’s behaviors following the incident and during the prosecution process and the potential effects of penalty on the future of the offender, in line with the Article 62/1 of the Turkish Criminal Code,” it reduced the penalty by one sixth, to two and a half years.