Stone-throwing children could be jailed for 58 years

ISTANBUL – Prison sentences of up to 58 years are being demanded by prosecutors for six children aged between 13 and 16 years.  The children threw stones at the police during demonstrations in October over the alleged mistreatment in prison of PKK leader Öcalan. This is the story according to several Turkish newspapers.
The children were part of a group of about a hundred Kurds demonstrating in the southern city of Adana. They are charged with committing crimes in the name of the PKK, the use of a dangerous material, shouting PKK slogans and being a threat to public security. The prosecutor officially demanded 58 years in prison for each child, but reduced his demand to thirty one and a half years for the 15 and 16 year olds, and to twenty one and a half years for the 13 and 14 year old boys. The eldest have been held in prison since the demonstration, the youngest were released pending the verdict. Some of the boys say they were forced to throw stones by men wearing balaclavas. In Turkey there has been criticism of the harsh treatment of the children by the legal system. At the same time, there is anger about the way in which during demonstrations in several cities children were coerced into throwing stones.

Last month there was a similar case in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir. There prison sentences of up to 23 years were demanded for stone-throwing children.

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