For the first time, the problem of child brides is being mentioned in the context of a trial on charges of "attempted sexual abuse". Lawyer Türkay Asma, an expert on children rights, emphasized that this development was an important step in terms of children rights, even though it was just a "possibility".
A 15-year old girl resisted the pressure and filed a complaint to court because she did not want to get married. She was a future child bride who ought to marry without her consent in violation of the rights of the child and the rights of women.
As reported by Habertürk, the girl from South-Eastern Anatolia whose identity was not disclosed applied to court and the prosecutor opened a trial against her parents under allegations of "attempted sexual abuse" and "deprivation of freedom".
There is the possibility that this trial will become a precedent. It will be one step on the way to protect girls from forced marriage at young age.
It is a possibility because it is not certain whether the court will decide in accordance with the indictment. The court can also rule for the offence of "torture". If the court decrees for the attempt of sexual abuse, the defendants will face imprisonment of up to eight years.
Lawyer Asma stressed the importance of this "possibility".
For the first time, a trial was opened related to a child bride under allegations of attempted sexual abuse. This sort of trials was not opened before. Asma reminded that cases had been opened on charges of "torture". The latter allegation carries a significantly smaller sentence that can be postponed.
"In my opinion, this is a full attempt of sexual abuse", Asma said. The penalties for a full attempt are much higher. The lawyer continued, "We do not know what the Court of Appeals will decide but it would be very good if the case would result in a precedent".
Asma noted that it would be a "deterrent" at least if one or two similar cases would be opened.
Protection is required
Asma also assessed the attitude of the prosecutor who included charges of sexual abuse in the indictment. "We believe that young prosecutors and judges in the countryside are more sensitive about this issue. The Court of Appeals is far behind and conservative as far as this topic is concerned".
Not only the prosecutor's but also the judges' attitude will be an example. Asma appreciated the judge's decision to accept the girl's complaint and keep her name and the name of her family confidential.
The lawyer added that the judiciary has to protect the girl. Especially family courts are very well trained regarding protection decisions. At least an emergency protection order might be given, Asma explained. "If the child experienced any kind of violence, she has to be in constant contact with the police. (...) We can give such an order in case we see the slightest thing". (YY/VK)