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News > World

Turkish Schoolboys in Jail for Tearing Down President's Poster

  • If convicted, the two children will be sent to a special home after serving time in jail, before going back to their parents.

    If convicted, the two children will be sent to a special home after serving time in jail, before going back to their parents. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 October 2015

The two boys have been arrested and will await trial in jail. They could be sentenced to a prison term of up to 28 months.

The Turkish government has arrested two schoolboys aged 12 and 13 who face 28 months in jail on charges of “insulting the ... president” by allegedly tearing down posters showing the photo of the country's head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a news outlet reported Thursday.

The two children are cousins and have been identified only by the initials R.Y. and R.T., according to Radikal.

RELATED: Teen Arrested for Insulting President Erdogan on Facebook

“We did not care about whose posters they were. We just wanted to remove them in order to sell them to a junk dealer,” R.Y. reportedly said in his testimony to authorities.

Sentencing against the two minors who were detained in May still needs to be approved by the Ministry of Justice.

Turkish Article 5 of the Child Protection Law stipulates that after children serve time for having participated in criminal acts they are to be sent to a children's home rather than back with their parents. The law also calls for family counselling.

According to reports, the two cousins are accused of tearing down Erdogan's posters outside a local highway in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

“It is devastating to see two children being tried for tearing down a poster of the president,” the children's lawyer Ismail Korkmaz said, slamming Turkey’s “illiberal” justice system.

The defense attorney added that the charges of “insulting the Turkish president” were not clear.

The local prosecutor’s office was responsible for requesting that a lawsuit be filed against the two children at the Ministry of Justice, citing Article 299 of the Turkish Criminal Code on defamation against a president.

The boys will be in court Dec. 8 for their first hearing. Apparently, there is no chance for bail, which means both cousins will await trial in jail. The case has been accepted by the Diyarbakır First Children’s Court.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested last week for allegedly "insulting" Erdogan, local media reported.

In December, according to AFP, a minor aged 17 was arrested in his classroom and held for several days on the same charge and given an 11-month suspended sentence, triggering outrage.

The EU has previously criticized Turkey's nationalist constitution, particularly the article referring to penalties on "insulting Turkishness", which they argued had been used to punish dissent.
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