CHP vocal on detentions

CHP vocal on detentions

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The main opposition has accused the justice minister of misleading the public with claims the slow pace of trials was the reason for lengthy detention periods and child abusers and terrorists would walk free if a Republican People’s Party (CHP) draft bill on the issue was to be implemented.

“According to the justice minister’s logic, detentions can be extended arbitrarily as long as the trial drags on. He is manipulating our proposal by telling people it would lead to the release of sex offenders,” CHP Deputy Group Chair Emine Ülker Tarhan told reporters yesterday.

Rather than shortening detention periods, trials must be accelerated, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said in response to the much criticized pre-trial detentions during a parliamentary debate Dec. 11. He said shortening detention periods in line with the CHP proposal submitted to Parliament last month would lead to the release of terrorists, child abusers and rapists.

Tarhan said their draft proposes limiting detention periods to a maximum of three years, which is in line with norms set by the European Court of Human Rights. Tarhan said trials in Turkey are completed in 347 days on average, according to Justice Ministry statistics. She urged Ergin to explain why “some people are behind bars for 1,000 days” without conviction. She said the government had failed to accelerate trials, even though the number of judges at the Court of Appeals had been doubled and procedural laws amended.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ joined the debate, insisting the lengthy detention periods were the result of a lengthy trial process. Shortened detentions might result in public outrage over the release of certain people, he said.

“If there were to be an amendment for those elected as Parliament members to stand trial without detention, then terrorists who have not been sentenced to jail may enter Parliament,” Bozdağ said, listing Murat Karayılan, No. 2 of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as an example.