Council of Ministers approves higher maximum sentencing for participation in a terrorist organisation

Council of Ministers approves higher maximum sentencing for participation in a terrorist organisation

Acting on a proposal by Justice and Security Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, the Council of Ministers agreed to submit a bill to the House of Representatives to increase the maximum prison term for participation in a terrorist organisation intending to commit the most severe acts of terrorism from 15 to 20 years.

Now that the Council of State has deliberated on the bill, it will be put to the vote in the House of Representatives. The bill focuses on participants of terrorist organisations who commit terrorist crimes punishable by life imprisonment. This includes, for example, committing acts of terrorism and other severe terrorism-related violence.

Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius: “Increasing the maximum sentence from 15 to 20 years sends an important signal to people who intend to join terrorist organisations that aim to impose their ideology on others through the most brutal and destructive violence. Participants are jointly culpable. As far as I am concerned, this should be accompanied by a punishment that further clarifies this message.”

The role of participants

Participants are of great importance to terrorist organisations. To achieve their objectives, terrorist organisations depend on participants. Participants in terrorist organisations make an indispensable – and indisputable – contribution to that organisation’s criminal objectives. They do so by preparing, supporting or committing acts of terrorism, for example.

Maximum penalty

At present, a maximum sentence of 15 years applies for participation in a terrorist organisation. That maximum sentence has remained unchanged since 2004, despite developments over roughly two decades. Accordingly, the Minister of Justice and Security now seeks to amend the maximum sentencing.

The maximum sentence for leading a terrorist organisation will not be increased. This is, after all, already subject to the highest maximum sentence (life imprisonment or temporary imprisonment of up to 30 years).

House of Representatives

After the House of Representatives has debated the bill, it is still to be passed through the Senate.

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