On 24 May 2017, the divisional court in Ankara overturned a November 2016 conviction for sexual assault in the case of the rape of human rights defender, Kemal Ördek. Instead the three perpetrators were sentenced to seven years and six months imprisonment for the charge of ‘aggravated burglary.’ The man previously convicted and sentenced for the sexual assault of Kemal was acquitted of these charges.
An affront to human rights
Kemal is one of the founders of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association, an organization promoting and advocating for the rights of sex workers.
In November 2016, the 1st High Criminal Court had sentenced two of the defendants to five years imprisonment and imposed a punitive fine for ‘subjection through threat and violence’. The third perpetrator was, in addition to these crimes, sentenced to imprisonment for 20 years for the crime of qualified sexual assault.
“By overturning the sexual assault charges, this court verdict is an affront to human rights. Trans individuals and sex workers have the right to be safe and to have access to justice. This court ruling undermines those rights.” said AWID’s Co-Executive Director, Hakima Abbas.
This latest court verdict came after the prosecutor Türkay Turkler appealed the sexual assault verdict with the allegations of non-existence of “an evidence above suspicion, complete, certain and credible”.
On 5 July 2015, Kemal Ördek was raped by a man who appeared at their residence. Following the assault, the perpetrator was joined by two other men, who threatened Kemal and demanded Kemal’s money. This started a protracted legal battle in which Kemal fought valiantly for justice and for the acknowledgement that they had been raped.
On 16 October 2015 and 4 February 2016, AWID’s members and partners joined in global solidarity to call on the government of Turkey to take necessary steps for Kemal Ördek’s safety, and bring perpetrators to justice.
AWID continues to be in solidarity with Kemal and to demand that the government of Turkey put in place all necessary safeguards for the protection of trans people and sex workers.