Turkey scraps law shield­ing child rapists

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

ANKARA: Turkey has aban­doned plans for a con­tro­ver­sial law that would have al­lowed men who had sex with un­der­age chil­dren to be par­doned if they mar­ried the vic­tim.

The re­ver­sal came af­ter Par­lia­ment ap­proved the Bill in an ini­tial read­ing on Thurs­day, and pre­pared for a sec­ond de­bate of the law yes­ter­day.

Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim told re­porters the govern­ment would ask an all­party com­mis­sion to re­view the pro­posal.

The plan pro­voked fury in the coun­try and saw thou­sands take to the streets on Satur­day in protest.

The govern­ment had in­sisted the law would help re­solve the le­gal chal­lenges caused by wide­spread child mar­riage but crit­ics said the Bill le­git­imised rape.

The law would have al­lowed men who sex­u­ally abused girls un­der 18 with­out “force, threat or any re­stric­tion on con­sent” and then mar­ried them, to have their con­vic­tions quashed or avoid pros­e­cu­tion.

The change would have ap­plied to cases be­tween 2005 and Nov 16.

The lat­est Bill came af­ter Turkey’s con­sti­tu­tional court an­nulled part of the crim­i­nal code in July which clas­si­fied all sex­ual acts with chil­dren un­der 15 as sex­ual abuse, a change that also prompted up­roar.

Al­though Turkey’s le­gal age of con­sent is 18, child mar­riage is wide­spread, with an es­ti­mated 15% of girls mar­ried be­fore 18, mak­ing it one of the high­est rates of child mar­riage in Europe. – The In­de­pen­dent

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