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Changes to Turkish sex laws 'not amnesty for rapists'

Changes to Turkish sex laws 'not amnesty for rapists'

Justice minister says proposal will not result in more lenient punishment for rapists

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Rapists will not be granted amnesty under proposed changes to Turkey’s sexual abuse laws, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Saturday.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul, Bozdag said the plan to pardon men convicted of sex offenses after they married underage girls would not mean lesser punishment for rapists.

The minister said some families allowed underage girls to get married. “We do not approve of this,” he said. “We are struggling to remove this… Amnesty will certainly not be granted to rapists. Elements of the crime will not be changed. Reduced sentences will not be made.”

The draft law to amend parts of Turkey’s Penal Code was submitted to parliament on Thursday by Mehmet Mus, vice chairman of the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group.

It was opposed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and it is due to be debated again on Tuesday.

The legal age for marriage in Turkey is 17 but under Civil Code Article 124 a judge can allow a 16-year-old to marry.

In cases of sexual abuse where the victim is under 12, the minimum prison sentence is 10 years and for victims age 12 to 18 the sentence is eight to 15 years.

The minimum jail term for raping someone under 12 is 18 years and for raping someone aged 12 to 18 it is 16 years.

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