Turkey acquits police officer who impregnated a migrant woman in custody

An Ankara court has acquitted a police officer accused of sexually assaulting a woman who was held at a migrant detention center, the T24 news website reported on Thursday.

The officer, identified only by the initials M.Ş., was acquitted on the grounds that there was no concrete evidence supporting the victim’s claim that she was coerced by the officer into having sexual relations.

The victim, an Azeri national identified as V.A., was hospitalized after experiencing abdominal pain and found to be pregnant. The pregnancy ended in miscarriage, and DNA taken from the fetus matched of the officer.

V.A. stated in her testimony that she had not resisted M.Ş. during the alleged assault and did not tell anyone about what happened out of fear that no one would believe her since she was a foreigner in the country.

The prosecutor had demanded a prison sentence of up to 18 years, stating that the victim was already under threat as she was a foreign asylum seeker and that the suspect had used his authority as a law enforcement officer to assault her. Turkey has a systemic problem of violence against women, including sexual violence. In 2021 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree that unilaterally withdrew the country from the Istanbul Convention, a major international treaty on combating gender-based violence.

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