The group was establish to follow up the situation of children who became victims of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) which was recently amended to improve the prosecution conditions for children. Today (7 September) is the last day of the fasting month of Ramadan before the beginning of the four-day religious Festival of Sweets tomorrow, one of the two most important religious festivals in the muslim calendar.

bianet talked to Akkaya about the latest situation of the children who are still in detention in the scope of the TMK.

Akkaya said that juvenile H.Y. was released this Tuesday (6 September) after having been detained in the context of the TMK four years ago when he was 14 years old. "He was detained in the Diyabakır (south-eastern Turkey) Children Prison. He tried to commit suicide three times during the past four years. He was kept at the Elazığ Mental Hospital for one month because of this. Nevertheless, he was not released. After the legal amendments, the Court of Appeals reviewed his file and released him".

Files pending at the Court of Appeals

The ÇIAT representative said that a total of 56 children are still being detained in the scope of the TMK, i.e. four in Mardin, three in Adıyaman, five in Bitlis, seven in Diyarbakır (cities in the south-east of Turkey) and 35 in Istanbul. Akkaya continued:

"The Court of Appeals delays the children’s files by giving reasons such as ‘the file is waiting in line’ or ‘the judges are on holiday’. Turkish bureaucracy is very cumbersome, processes are advancing very slowly. Lawyers who work as ÇİAT volunteers in Ankara were given a certificate of authorization. They are following up the children’s cases at the Court of Appeals. They are working on having the files covered as soon as possible".

Most of the children suffer traumata

Akkaya said that the work carried out by ÇIAT, the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen), the regional bar associations and the regional administrations to support the children who have been released is still being continued.

The majority of children released from prison experience traumatic disorders, Akkaya explained. "TİHV examines the children who were released; it turned out that a significant number of these children suffered traumatic disorders. Eğitim-Sen supports the children to re-integrate into normal life and also offers educational support for children who continue school. We try to direct the children who are not going back to school to vocational courses of the municipality. The children from Diyarbakır are luckier in this aspect since the Metropolitan Municipality offers vocational courses". (BIA, Semra PELEK, 8 September 2010)