A Turkish court was today resuming the trial of a German teenager accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old British girl while they were both on holiday, his lawyer said.
Marco Weiss, now 19, spent eight months in custody in a jail in the Mediterranean city of Antalya in 2007 on charges of sexually abusing a child, before he was released and returned to Germany.
Weiss has rejected the accusations, and the trial has continued in his absence. He was not expected to attend today’s hearing in Turkey.
Lawyer Ahmet Ersoy said the court was expected to deliver its verdict today. He added that if his client was convicted he would appeal.
“We cannot accept something other than an acquittal,” Ersoy said.
The case has been followed closely in Germany, where Weiss’ lengthy custody drew intense criticism. Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier appealed to Turkey to let Weiss return home.
The incident allegedly took place in April 2007, in the resort of Side, near Antalya, where the two teenagers were holidaying with their families.
Weiss maintained that the two became close and ended up in the girl’s hotel bedroom one night where they had physical contact but no intercourse. He also said the girl had lied about her age and said she was 15.
He was arrested the next day, after the mother of the girl filed a complaint against him to police.
Weiss faces up to eight years in prison if found guilty of sexually abusing a child.
The trial dragged on as the court demanded various reports detailing the girl’s physical and mental condition from British authorities.
The trial had proceeded behind closed doors because Weiss was a minor at the start of proceedings. He was identified as Marco W. at the time. The trial was later opened to journalists.
On his return, Weiss wrote a book – Marco W. – My 247 days in a Turkish prison - detailing his time inside the jail in Antalya, a resort popular with German tourists.
In a similar case in 2004, a 24-year-old Turkish bartender was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for the statutory rape of a 14-year-old British teenager who ran away from home to marry him.
The two met while she was holidaying in the resort of Marmaris in the summer of 2002.