Former AKP youth branch chair released despite forensic evidence of abusing own child

A Turkish court ruled for the release of Refik Yakıt, a former head of the ruling AKP's youth branch, who is facing charges of sexually abusing his five-year-old son. The decision is beyond purely a judicial one due to the perpetrator's political connections, the child's attorney said.

A protestors holds a banner reading 'Do not stay silent to abuse' in this file photo.

Didem Mercan / DUVAR

Former chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) youth branch in the Aegean İzmir's Selçuk district, Refik Yakıt is facing charges of sexually abusing his five-year-old son. 

Yakıt was first accused of child abuse after his ex-wife noticed behavioral and physical changes in their five-year-old son after he spent time with the perpetrator during the couple's divorce proceedings. 

Yakıt was detained in June after a forensic report that confirmed the assault, but was released after the first hearing in the court case on July 29. 

Children and Women First Association attorney Barış Özbay noted that Yakıt and his witnesses denied all allegations of abuse.

"Although the medical report has scientifically proven the sexual assault through the placement of an item in the body and the victim as well as the family's statements confirm this, the suspect and his witnesses have said that such an event has never happened," lawyer Özbay said. 

"Upon the demand of the court, an additional report was prepared as to whether this mark that occurred in the anal area could have occurred in circumstances other than sexual abuse, and the forensic medicine institute said that such a situation might have occured as a possibility," Özbay said. 

Deeming the court ruling for Yakıt's release "legally unacceptable," the attorney said that the court gave this decision despite the calls of the prosecutor's office for the continued imprisonment of the defendant.

"The fact that the defendant has political connections and he has power in Selçuk district creates suspicion," Özbay said. 

The child's family and their attorneys will continue to seek prosecution of the suspect, and the next hearing is scheduled for Sep. 28, Özbay said.