Anger is growing in Turkey that while the government is preparing to grant amnesties to up to one third of the country’s prison population in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic, jailed human rights activists, journalists and opposition politicians will not be among those considered for early release. The Turkish parliament passed a legal amendment on Tuesday which makes 90,000 of the country’s approximately 300,000 prisoners eligible for either house arrest or parole by halving sentences for offences including non pre-mediatated murder and organised crime. Early drafts of the bill, which would also have covered sex offenders and those convicted of gender-based violence, were dropped after being met with outrage from women’s rights groups. Of perhaps the greatest concern is not who the new law lets out of prison, but who it keeps in. While rights groups have welcomed some of the new measures to keep inmates safe from coronavirus, such as alternative incarceration or home arrest for those over 65, those with pre-existing conditions and female prisoners with young children, political prisoners have been very clearly overlooked. On Monday Amnesty International along with two dozen human rights organisations joined Turkish groups calling for the immediate release of journalists and… Read full this story
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