Nergis Demirkaya / Duvar

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to extend the scope of an upcoming early parole law to include prisoners sentenced for child sexual abuse – on the condition that they are married to their victims.

AKP Group Deputy Chair Özlem Zengin paid a visit to the parliamentary group chairs of three opposition parties to discuss this issue.

Zengin informed the officials of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), İYİ (Good) Party and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of their plan and asked them to support the revised version of the early parole bill. The CHP, İYİ Party and HDP officials said that they will talk with their parties’ executives and notify the AKP of their final stance. The AKP did not submit a written proposal to the parties.

There are currently 7,000-8,000 inmates serving sentence for child sexual abuse, and 270 of them are married to their victims. So, the AKP’s proposal seeks to benefit these 270 inmates.

Such an amnesty seeking pardon for child sex offences remains on the agenda of the AKP since 2016. After it drew outrage in the public over its legitimization of child rape, the AKP had shelved the proposed bill.

A penal reform that is expected to lead to the release of 90,000 prisoners in one stroke amid coronavirus concerns was submitted to the Turkish Parliament on March 31.

The legal amendment will halve the sentence issued to inmates, except for those behind bars over charges related to terrorism, drugs, violence against women and children, sexual abuse and deliberate murder.