Turkey releases 1st batch of prisoners amid coronavirus

Almost 650 prisoners to serve sentence at home after Turkish parliament ratified bill to limit spread of coronavirus

Ilyas Gun, Muhammed Kaygin, Bilal Kahyaoglu and Cihan Okur   | 15.04.2020
Turkey releases 1st batch of prisoners amid coronavirus

SAMSUN, Turkey 

Turkey released the first batch of prisoners on Wednesday after the parliament ratified a penal reform law to stem the spread of coronavirus in jails.

The law was passed Tuesday by a 270-51 vote.

Some 650 prisoners were released after necessary procedures by gendarmerie forces.

The law excludes prisoners convicted for sex and drug crimes, first degree murder, violence against women and terror acts.

It enables house arrest for some inmates over 65, women who have children aged six and under, and sick prisoners who cannot take care of themselves.

The measures will roughly double the number of beneficiaries of alternative penal arrangements from about 45,000 to 90,000.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul on Monday confirmed 17 cases of the novel coronavirus in five open prisons, while three inmates have died from the virus.

Turkey has confirmed 1,403 deaths from coronavirus so far, while the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 65,100.

Globally, the virus has infected more than 1.99 million patients and has so far claimed over 127,600 lives, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. More than 500,00 people have recovered.

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