Bars call for arrangements in criminal enforcement amid COVID-19 outbreak
The chairs of 32 bar associations, including those of Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir, on March 19 made a statement and requested the application of suspension of criminal enforcement method in the penal execution law for the elderly, patients, women and child convicts who are in the COVID-19 high-risk group.
The bars called for the arrangement for improvement of enforcement, saying, “It is necessary to take measures of suspension of enforcement or enforcement at home during the epidemic disease and to ensure the right of the convicts to access health services and thus to protect their right to life until this arrangement is made.”
The number of prisoners in Turkey’s prisons is almost 300,000 and these people are within risk groups, said the bars, stressing that it is difficult to say that current restrictions on the right to see and visit of their lawyers and their relatives, which are the only means of communication of prisoners with the outside world, would fully provide preventive measures.
Immediate and comprehensive measures should be taken and solutions should be developed in order to effectively combat this outbreak with regards to prisons and to minimize potential life risks, said the statement.
“In this context, there are a considerable number of politicians, mayors, intellectuals, journalists, lawyers and students arrested and imprisoned on the grounds that they use their freedom of thought and expression. It is true that some of these are in the fatal risk group of the coronavirus due to age and disease,” said the bars.
“Considering the precautionary nature of the detention and the abuse of this aspect in recent years, its essential that the prisoners who are still in detention are released,” the bars stated.
The bars emphasized the provision of public benefits that can be obtained from detention by disseminating house arrest and similar judicial control provisions.
Meanwhile, the government is working on a long- running criminal enforcement arrangement for prisons, which have a significant risk in the coronavirus outbreak and hold about 300,000 prisoners.
After a meeting for coronavirus precautions on March 18, an “emergency” criminal enforcement meeting was held late on the same day on the issue chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.