Turkey

Turkey: Bill with sentence reductions due in parliament

Sentence reductions would exclude crimes repugnant to society such as domestic violence, terrorism, says justice minister

Kemal Karadag and Cemil Murat Budak   | 31.03.2020
Turkey: Bill with sentence reductions due in parliament

ANKARA

A bill that would reduce the sentences of thousands of Turkish inmates is hitting parliament this week, said Turkey’s justice minister on Tuesday.

"It will be soon brought to the agenda of parliament and we expect the proposal to be passed,” said Abdulhamit Gul of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party proposal, which reached the Parliament Speaker’s Office this afternoon.

The scope of the bill for releasing some inmates will be clear when the proposal is submitted and passed by parliament, Gul said in televised remarks.

There are about 300,000 inmates in Turkey, he said, adding: "Convicts and detainees are entrusted to the state."

Sentences for crimes repugnant to society are not expected to be included in the reductions, including homicide, sex crimes, murders of women, violence against women and spouses, and terrorism, he said.

Along with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the AK Party is working on the measure with this in mind, he stressed.

He also said most courtroom procedures in Turkey have been postponed to help stem the coronavirus spread, but 385 suspects charged with spreading manipulative news about the virus are moving through the system.

He also reiterated that there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkish prisons so far, stressing the state’s commitment to inmates’ health.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 178 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has surpassed 803,000, while the death toll is over 39,000 and to date more than 172,000 people have recovered.

In Turkey, 168 people have so far died from the outbreak.

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