Fahrettin Kuzu, vice principal of Gazi Elementary School, was accused of sexually assaulting four girls at the school in Siirt. The incident emerged in April 2010 when the four children spoke to their school counselor about the sexual abuse they had had to endure for two years by that time.
Kuzu was sentenced to nearly 47 years in prison for the sexual exploitation of minors on Wednesday.
The vice principal, who had been at large for the past 18 months, was captured in Batman last December and tried in absentia. He appeared before the court for the first time on Wednesday, denying the charges directed against him. He claimed to suffer from impotence and said he was the victim of a conspiracy.
Eleven members of the Diyarbakır Women's Platform applauded the verdict at Wednesday's hearing. Kuzu, who was escorted outside the courtroom by a bailiff, shouted back at the applauding activists angrily: “You got what you want. I am going to jail because of you.”
When the scandal came to light in April 2010, 39 suspects, including several local store owners and two civil servants, were detained in connection with the case. Ten of the suspects were arrested on charges of the sexual exploitation of minors and the unlawful deprivation of liberty. Kuzu's trial was heard separately from that of the other suspects.
The other suspects were sentenced to prison terms that vary from two to 26 years by the Siirt High Criminal Court on March 14. Zeki Filik was given 31 years, eight months; İsmail Toprak 26 years, five months; Hasan Bulgaz 10 years, 10 months; Barış Ekinci 15 years, seven months; Hammet Beşir Ayyıldız 12 years, 11 months; Abdulhakim Elçin 12 years, six months; Bekir Zamur 10 years, five months; Murat Akkoyun nine years, four-and-a-half months; Temel Taşçı seven years, six months; and Sinan Çeken five years, two-and-a-half months.
Additional suspects, who were tried after being released on bail, also received prison sentences. Among those who stood trial while not in jail, Ömer Zing received six years, 11 months, five days; Hamza Çelik five years, two months; Metin Aldemir four years, two months; Mahmut Nedim Helvacıoğlu six years, three months; İsmail Özer two years, seven months; Ahmet Koçak four years, two months; Kahraman Batur four years, two months; Mehmet Ali Yılmaz six years, 11 months; Abdulgafur Turhan seven years; and Yusuf Kezer 10 years, five months.