Last-minute change made to reform bid

Last-minute change made to reform bid

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Parliament’s Justice Commission has approved a last-minute amendment to the “third judicial reform package” that would lead to the release of far-right militants imprisoned for their involvement in several murders prior to the 1980 coup. According to the proposal, which was submitted by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), prison terms for those who committed murders before the 1980 coup will be decreased.

“Murders that were counted as organized crime were punished with a single jail term; however, in some political prosecutions each single crime [murder] was sentenced separately. This amendment will correct this inequality,” Adem Sözüer, a law professor and advisor to panel said.

Overhauling system
The third judicial package, which will be debated in Parliament’s General Assembly in the coming days, includes amendments designed to overhaul Turkey’s controversial judicial system. Judicial control will become a legal alternative to detention, and judges will be required to provide concrete justification for arrest orders, according to the bill.

Some commentators have said the package presents hope for Turkey’s eight jailed lawmakers, because judicial control could be an option that may lead to their release. The issue remains ambiguous, however, as two AKP lawmakers have proposed separate draft laws envisaging that only suspects charged with offenses punishable by up to five years in jail could benefit from such measures. The reform package also aims to broaden media freedoms.

Commenting on the issue, EU’s envoy to Turkey, Jean Maurice Ripert, said the reform package should have been more “challenging.”