The Turkish government is planning a release of almost 90,000 prisoners due to the escalation of Covid-19 in Turkey which would seriously affect the inmate population, and also would serve to reduce the extreme overcrowding In Turkish jails. However, political prisoners, who include professors, opposition party members, civil servants, judges, attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, and writers would remain – thus turning sentences based on differences of opinion with the current government, possibly into death sentences, as the virus spreads throughout the inmate population.
As reported in the Washington Post on April 9th, this would “release a swindler for stealing, but retain a college student for calling the President of Turkey a thief. It would release a bureaucrat who accepts bribes, but would retain the journalist who reports on it.”
The courts recently overturned many of the charges against these political prisoners, but there are many still confined or awaiting appeal hearings. Approximately, 50,000 political prisoners would be excluded from this new proposed law, while 90,000 other prisoners would either be temporarily or permanently released. Additionally, many of these political prisoners are over 60 years old with compromising medical conditions which would make them a prime target for serious complications with the virus. Many of these prisoners also are being detained pending court hearings and have as yet to even be convicted.
Please sign the petition below, which is being circulated by the University of Greenwich which details this bill for prisoner release but excludes Turkish political prisoners.