Riz Khan
Turkey's 'child terrorists'
Country's anti-terror laws can mean many young Kurdish boys spend years in adult prisons.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2010 11:39 GMT

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Turkey amended its anti-terror law in 2006 so that children could be brought before the country's toughest criminal court.

Under Turkey's current laws, children believed to have taken part in an unauthorised demonstration or caught spreading or repeating the propaganda of a banned group may face several years in an adult prison.

The change in law has hit the country's Kurdish community particularly hard.

Known as the "stone-throwing children", young Kurdish boys, whose families were forced to migrate to the cities, spend much of their days on urban streets.

Advocates argue that these boys really do not answer to any authority - not their parents, not the Turkish state, not even local ethnic Kurdish leaders.


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Some argue that they see themselves as dispossessed and easily get swept-up in demonstrations without realising the tough legal consequences.

Kurdish leaders argue that these youths have become an easy target for law enforcement looking to put down any display of Kurdish political identity.

For the families, the results are devastating as many of the boys face abuse in prison and come out as hardened adults.

Should children accused of terrorism be charged and tried as adults? Is it harsh justice for child criminals or a crackdown on Kurdish political dissent?

On Thursday's Riz Khan show, we talk to attorney and activist Serkan Abas who has represented several Kurdish boys accused of terrorism.

Nazmi Gur, a Kurdish activist who represents the Peace and Democracy Party in Washington, will also join the programme.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Thursday, March 4, 2010.

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