Turkish teen's family protest Danish court decision

ANKARA – Relatives of a 17-year-old Turkish teenager, Hikmet Sahbaz, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Danish court for the manslaughter of 19-year-old Danish teenager, protested against the ruling on Tuesday.

‘’Hikmet’s [Sahbaz] place is to be in school, not prison!’’ around 20 people chanted outside the Danish embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara. They were holding banners, which read, "Justice for Hikmet!" and "Stop xenophobia and racism in Denmark!"

The Danish embassy was not available for comment.

On October 12 last year, a fight broke out at a railway station in the suburb of Copenhagen between Sahbaz, 20-year-old Turkish Tugay Yalcin and 19-year-old Ricko Traeholt, who died after Yalcin stabbed him twice in the chest and once in the neck.

On May 7, Yalcin was sentenced to 14 years in prison while Sahbaz, who was at the crime scene, was sentenced to 12 years, the highest for a 17-year-old. However, the Danish court lowered it to 10 years because of his age.

"This is a completely racist action," said Hikmet’s aunt, Meliha Kuscu, who lives in Turkey. "Hikmet has received punishment which Danish teenagers have not received in preceding cases,’’ she added.

In Denmark, the penalty for manslaughter goes from a minimum of five years to life imprisonment. As a general rule, a person has the right to appeal decisions concerning both civil and criminal cases to a district court in Denmark.

‘’[Hikmet Sahbaz] received a penalty despite not committing the murder; we see this as racist action,’’ Kuscu said.

Sahbaz, who is born and raised in Denmark, had already spent nine months in prison before he received the ten year sentence by a Danish court on May 7.

His father, Ali Riza Sahbaz, is currently on hunger strike until his son is released, according to his relative, Mehmet Kuscu.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency