Lawyer Keresticioğlu stated that even after the amendments of the Anti-Terror Law, children still remain in detention under charges of “membership of an illegal organization” and “carrying explosives”. The lawyer demanded amendments of the Turkish Criminal Law for the release of the children.
“It is presented as if crucial amendments have been made in the Anti-Terror Law but with these laws the children will remain detained in prison”.
Lawyer Filiz Kerestecioğlu points out that the amendments made in the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) are not sufficient for the release of children in prison. The amendments’ application confirms the lawyer’s concerns.
The Istanbul Deputy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Sebahat Tuncel, addressed the parliament with the problem that children have not been released from prison despite the legal amendments. A hundred children were released pending trial after the enforcement of the amendments. Tuncel asked the Minister of Justice, Sadullah Ergin, why the other children, some of them in prisons in the East of the country, were not released.
Court dismissed request for release
Kerestecioğlu is one of the lawyers whose clients were not released in the course of the amendments. She told bianet that her application for release submitted after the enforcement of the amendments was rejected by the Istanbul 9th High Criminal Court.
“The charges of “membership of an organization” and “possessing explosives” pressed against the children were given as the reasons for the dismissal. Due to the recent amendments, children are to be released if “explosives” have not been found. Only in case of a prosecution under Article 220/6 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) the children are not being released as it was the case for our trial. According to information conveyed by lawyers, explosives are being made the subject of every file and children are immediately shown as members of an [illegal] organization”.
Article 220/6 of the TCK stipulates that “A person committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization shall be punished separately for the offence of membership of an illegal organization”. According to Article 23 of the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations (TGYK),”people carrying or providing explosives” shall be punished with prison sentence of one year the least. Children tried under allegations of resistance against the police as regulated in Article 32 of the TGYK are not to be released pending trial.
Turkish Criminal Law has to change
Kerestecioğlu emphasized the urgent need for an amendment of the TCK for the release of detained children.
“I say that in fact legal regulations for the release of children are not necessary in any case right from the start. According to the Children Protection Law, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the referring decisions taken by the European Court of Human Rights, children have to be released right away anyhow”.
Following the legal amendments, the Ministry of Justice has not made an announcement yet regarding the number of children currently in prison. Data compiled by the Human Rights Foundation (IHD) suggests that 24 children are still detained in Mardin, 12 in Bitlis, two in Adıyaman, 12 in Malatya (provinces in the south-eastern part of the country) and a total of 40 children in the Maltepe and Bakırköy prisons in Istanbul on the grounds of attending demonstrations. (SP/VK)