Turkey Should Protect All Prisoners from Pandemic

Images of Turkish prisons from last 5-10 years. Currently, Turkish prisons capacity is almost 220,00 and some 300,000 inmates are prisons tens of thousands whom are in lengthy pretrial detention or sentenced without evidence (HizmetNews).
Images of Turkish prisons from last 5-10 years. Currently, Turkish prisons capacity is almost 220,00 and some 300,000 inmates are prisons tens of thousands whom are in lengthy pretrial detention or sentenced without evidence (HizmetNews).


Date posted: March 24, 2020

Emma Sinclair-Webb, Human Rights Watch Turkey Director

The risk the coronavirus pandemic poses to staff and inmates in Turkey’s vastly overcrowded prisons has prompted the government to accelerate a plan to substitute prison time with alternatives such as early parole and house arrest. While a welcome step, it is important that prisoners who are not serving time for acts of violence but instead are jailed for little more than their political views can benefit. There should be no discrimination on the basis of political opinion.

The draft law before Parliament this week reportedly could help up to 100,000 prisoners out of a prison population in Turkey close to 300,000, but will exclude thousands of inmates on trial or sentenced for terrorism offenses or crimes against the state.

Terrorism may sound like the gravest of offenses, but in Turkey, the government misuses the charge for political ends. Many inmates are placed in lengthy pretrial detention or sentenced without evidence that they committed violent acts, incited violence, or provided logistical help to outlawed armed groups. Among them are journalists like Ahmet Altan, politicians like Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdağ, human rights defenders like Osman Kavala, and thousands of dismissed civil servants, teachers, and others punished for association with the Fethullah Gülen movement.

Human Rights Watch has worked for years on the misuse of terrorism laws in Turkey, including how courts defined exercising the right to assembly as a terrorism offense, and how mediapoliticians, and lawyers have all been targeted.

The government’s early parole draft law suggests prisoners who have served at least half their sentence could be released early and includes various provisions such as enabling pregnant women and prisoners over 60 with health conditions to be released to house arrest or on parole.

All efforts to reduce the prison population at this time are welcome, but such measures cannot become a tool for targeting political prisoners. Parliament should reject any discriminatory exemption of terrorism prisoners and sick prisoners who have applied for postponement of sentences. It should make sure that decisions on early release of all prisoners are non-discriminatory – taking into consideration the imperative of protecting their health, particularly where there are risks due to age or underlying medical conditions – and objective, based on the risk prisoners may pose to others if released early.

Source: March 23, 2019 , Human Rights Watch


Related News

SP’s Kamalak says MGK, not Hizmet movement, should discuss Kurdish issue

Felicity Party (SP) leader Mustafa Kamalak, commenting on a proclamation made by the National Security Council (MGK) on Wednesday, has said that instead of labeling the Hizmet movement as a “threat to national security,” the MGK should consider the government’s Kurdish policy which is leading to a “division of the country.”

Peace and prosperity for Turkey lies in philosophy of Nursi says Altan Tan

On one hand he is a devout Muslim, and former member of the conservative Welfare Party (Refah Partisi), which was thrown out of the government in 1997 after a military memorandum, commonly known as the February 28 post-modern coup. Equally important for Tan is his identity as a Kurdish political figure, seeking political rights for his people and an end to conflict between armed rebels and the state.

Inside the eye of Turkey’s political storm, in rural Pennsylvania

A moderate preacher rooted in the Sufi mystic tradition of Islam, Mr. Gulen is known for emphasizing interfaith dialogue. But Mr. Erdogan calls Mr. Gulen and his followers a “cancer” and a “terrorist organization” that is building a “parallel state.” The rancour is personal.

Businessmen, politicians, religious leaders come together at GYV iftar

26 July 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL Many distinguished figures, including Turkey’s spiritual leaders, politicians, artists, diplomats, businessmen and journalists came together at the same iftar (fast-breaking dinner) table in İstanbul’s Conrad Hotel on Wednesday night at an event held by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV). GYV Honorary President Fethullah Gülen greeted the guests […]

Elvan Foods: Our exports extended to 130 countries thanks to Turkish Schools

Hidayet Kadiroglu, the CEO of Elvan Food, one of the major companies in the chocolate and candy industry said that their exports extended to 130 countries thanks to the Turkish schools all over the world. Kadiroglu stated that they were able to establish factories in first Azerbaijan and then Egypt; they had the opportunity to stretch out to Asian and African markets.

Yamanlar College student becomes world math champion

ISTANBUL Osman Akar, a student from the private Yamanlar College in İzmir, has won a gold medal at the 55th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), which was held in Cape Town. Students from 106 countries around the world participated in the event from July 3-13. Akar was among students on a math team chosen by the […]

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Int’l students delight Washington in language festival

Abant participants: Turkey needs EU support to improve its democracy

Turkish Schools and Fethullah Gulen

Fountain Magazine wins APEX Award for publication excellence

Ayse Bohurler says International Herald Tribune misquoted remarks on Gülen movement

Funeral prayer held for Turkish volunteer Zengindemir in Oklahoma City

Gülen’s lawyer: Doctored tapes part of plans to finish off Hizmet movement

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News