Inmates get right to visit relatives
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsParliament has passed a bill that would enable inmates – both convicts and those awaiting trial – to visit relatives who are seriously ill under tight security measures.
The law excludes those in aggravated life imprisonment, but other inmates who do not pose a security threat will be escorted by gendarmerie forces to visit family members in times of severe illness.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) drafted the bill after Deniz Baykal, the former leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), asked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to help secure permission for Mehmet Haberal, a CHP lawmaker awaiting trial in prison, to be temporarily released to see his ailing mother. Haberal’s mother died earlier this month before the law could be passed.
During the parliamentary debate late April 26, the AKP dropped a provision from the bill that was designed to curtail visits to jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan on grounds that it was contradictory to the European Convention on Human Rights and universal norms.
The provision would have enabled the authorities to ban lawyers from visiting convicted prisoners for up to six months. According to Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, the clause was dropped for a “more detailed review.”