Turkey's penal reform law to meet expectations: Erdogan

Law enables release of thousands of prisoners to reduce overcrowding as part of measures in fighting pandemic

Erdogan Cagatay Zontur   | 14.04.2020
Turkey's penal reform law to meet expectations: Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends cabinet meeting via video conference in Istanbul, Turkey on April 13, 2020. ( Murat Kula - Anadolu Agency )


The penal reform law in Turkey to reduce overcrowding in prisons and protect prisoners against coronavirus will meet the expectations of the citizens at a higher rate regarding the manifestation of justice, the Turkish president said on Tuesday.

Turkey's parliament ratified a penal reform bill early Tuesday aimed at reducing the sentences of thousands of prisoners, paving the way for their release in a bid to ease overcrowding and protect them from the coronavirus.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement that the country started a comprehensive study which will completely reconsider the crime and sanction balance in Turkey’s penal code.

The publication of the new law will allow many convicts to leave the prisons in accordance with the changes to the execution periods, Erdogan said, and added: “I believe that these citizens will not disappoint the state and society.”

“We know that we have a lot more to do in the pursuit of justice, a never-ending ideal of humanity,” he added.

On Monday, the death toll in the country from the coronavirus rose to 1,296, with 61,049 confirmed cases.

Since appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

Data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections have surpassed 1.93 million, with the death toll reaching nearly 121,000, while almost 465,000 have recovered so far.

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