Stone throwers, pick-pockets, murderers

Whatever got into MHP leader Bahceli is a mystery to me, but he actually pleaded for an amnesty for all 5,000 kids in prison. Even more surprising: even the stone throwing kids from the southeast of Turkey should be included in the amnesty arrangement, he said. Why is that surprising? The MHP is a very nationalistic party, and usually they want nothing but the harshest punishment for any crime related to ‘terrorism’, which includes Kurdish kids throwing stones at the police during demonstrations. That this politician in particular should ask for an amnesty for stone throwers is remarkable.

Anyway, what he didn’t do is make a plea for changing the anti-terror laws that landed these kids in prison in the first place. So the idea of letting these kids go is rather useless. Great for these individual kids, of course, but in no time the prisons will again be full of stone throwers if the law isn’t changed. And it doesn’t seem parliament is as yet willing to change that law, since the fight against the PKK continues.

Besides, it would be good to make some distinction between crimes. A stone thrower or a pick-pocket is different to a murderer. Nobody would accept an amnesty law that allowed a murderer like Ogun Samast to be set free – he killed Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink when he was 17. Also legally a kid when he committed murder was Cem Garipoglu, who was 17 when he killed his girlfriend, cut her head off, and was on the run for months last year.

But first let’s see if there is support for an amnesty law for kids anyway. For the moment, the kids in prison for minor crimes can only hope for it, not count on it.

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