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Turkish parliament overrides presidential veto of penal code

[JURIST] The Turkish parliament [official website, in Turkish] has re-approved amendments to the country's new European Union oriented penal code, overriding an earlier veto [JURIST report] by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer [official profile]. The new code includes the first major changes to Turkish law in 79 years and is intended to liberalize that law in order to help the nation's chances of joining the EU. Sezer had objected to certain provisions of the code, arguing they violated the nation's secular principles by reducing punishments for running religious courses without government authorization. The law also increases the rights of women and children, criminalizes marital rape and sexual harassment and toughens punishments for rape, pedophilia, human trafficking and torture. Sezer must now approve the law as it stands, but he can still send it to the Constitutional Court [official website] for cancellation. Aljazeera has more.

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