Protests after attempted rape of a 13-year-old in Şırnak

The attempted rape of a thirteen-year-old girl has triggered protests in Şırnak province. The perpetrator, a staff sergeant in the Turkish army, was overpowered by local residents and has been arrested.

The attempted rape of a thirteen-year-old girl by a staff sergeant of the Turkish army has triggered strong protests in the Şırnak city in Northern Kurdistan. A demonstration against sexual violence was broken up by the police in the evening with tear gas. Several street protests had already taken place before, and protests formed in online networks under the hashtag #SusmaŞırnak (“Do not be silent, Şırnak”). The demonstrators, the majority of whom were men, announced that they would continue their actions.

According to her lawyers, the girl in question was in the stairwell of her apartment building with a friend late Tuesday evening when she almost fell victim to a sexual assault by soldier A.A. Neighbours became aware of the incident through cries for help, the man was disturbed and fled into his vehicle. A short time later he was confronted and overpowered by residents while masturbating. Before that he pulled his gun and threatened several people. They were able to snatch the gun from him and hold the man until the police arrived.

Both at the police station and during his interrogation by the prosecutor’s office, A.A. denied the attempted rape on Wednesday, claiming to have been the victim of an attack “because of his army membership” by a group unknown to him. He had gone to the apartment building because he was looking for a woman “whose name he did not know”, with whom he was said to have met for a picnic in the evening.

The public prosecutor’s office accuses A.A., who has been a staff sergeant in the 1st Command Brigade in Şırnak since 2017, of attempted rape and threatening with a firearm. The criminal division of the district court in Şırnak granted the request for remand in custody because there was a risk of escape, concealment and repetition.