The Ankara 7th High Criminal Court set a precedent for crimes concerned with sexual assault.
Şahin Öğüt had already been handed a 15 years prison sentence from one of the 12 different cases in which he is tried under charges of sexual assaults. In yesterday's decision the Ankara court handed down a 20 years sentence to Öğüt.
Lawyer Evren Paydak commented the decision for bianet,
"This decision is a very good one and means a very important day for women. We are very pleased. The crime of rape happened 14 years ago. There is no Forensic Medicine report, no sperm sample, no physical marks of assault etc. The court judges' decision is predicated on the victim's statement. The degree of penalty was enforced by the fact that the victim was 13 years old at the time of the crime. Reports documenting disturbances in the victim's mental health after the rape were also taken into account for the sentence as high as 20 years".
"Won on behalf of all women"
Paydak explained that the court's decision is based on the former version of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) since it was the one in force when the assault occurred. "According to this law, the least penalty for this kind of crime is a 10 years sentence while there is no upper limit set. An increased penalty was decided because the court judges applied article 418 and took into account the victim's wrecked mental state".
Paydak drew attention to the development of the case and told bianet,
"First of all the prosecutor referred to article 418 and claimed to increase the penalty because of the "disruption of the hymen". Then he changed his opinion, saying that there was 'no concrete evidence for the disruption of the hymen' and refrained from his claim to increase the penalty. However, the court judges decided to increase the penalty on the grounds of 'disturbance of the mental state' instead of the 'disruption of the hymen'".
Paydak reminded that Öğüt had been handed a 15 years sentence before from another trial. The lawyer emphasized that the Forensic Medicine Institute attested Öğüt "full criminal capacity".
Lawyer Paydak said that the case had been followed by the Ankara feminists and the feminist.biz group and evaluated the decision as a gain for all women. (EZÖ/VK)
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