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Turkish teenager faced jail time for painting graffiti

21 January 2014

The youngest person to be indicted out of the Gezi Park protesters, a thirteen year old boy, was acquitted today having faced a sentence of potentially up to 16 years jail for painting graffiti during demonstrations held in Canakkale, western Turkey.

The secondary school student was facing charges of “damaging public property” for writing “Government resign, death to fascism” on the pavement during protests on 3rd June, 2013.

The young boy missed his previous hearing as he was taking exams.

Members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which initiated the protests against the destruction of the now-iconic park in Istanbul, and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies also attended the hearing in the Canakkale courthouse.

Spokesperson for the Taksim Solidarity Platform, Mucella Yapici, likened the prosecution of the boy to child abuse. “What’s happening here is shameful. This is child abuse. This trial will be remembered as a dark stain in our history.”

I hope this child will not have a certain idea about justice. I am attending today as a mother and am ashamed of this,” she said.

The court dismissed the charges, saying there were no grounds for a sentence in the case. The young boy was defended by an almost unprecedented team of 14 lawyers.

The 13-year-old, had previously said he wanted to imitate other people writing graffiti. He had also explained that he wrote “death to fascism” after understanding during the protests that fascism “was a bad thing.”

His father also slammed prosecutors and judges for launching the investigation, stating “Don’t the Turks have anything else to do [other] than try a 13-year-old boy?”  he asked.

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