Sub-commission moves to curb lenght of pre-trial detentions
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The lengthy pre-trial detentions have long been under fire, amid legal cases against members of Parliament. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZParliament’s Justice Sub-Commission has drafted a legal amendment to tighten the conditions of the much-criticized pre-trial detentions in Turkey, as part of discussions on a draft package of judicial reforms.
The proposed amendment to Article 100 of the Criminal Procedures Law would require judges to present “concrete facts” - rather than just “facts” - pointing to a strong suspicion that the suspect has committed a crime, before they could place anyone in pre-trial detention. In addition, the amendment would raise the threshold for charges that could lead to pre-trial custody. Judges would only be able to order pre-trial detention for suspects charged with offenses punishable with more than two years in jail, rather than the current one year.
Concrete facts required for arrest
“If this change is approved at the General Assembly, a strong suspicion of crime will no longer be enough for an arrest warrant. Concrete facts will be required to prove this suspicion, and thus judges will be prevented from making subjective decisions,” said Ali Rıza Öztürk, sub-commission member from the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The lengthy pre-trial detentions have long been under fire, amid controversial legal cases against members of Parliament and journalists.
In a related development, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has given another signal that it is unlikely to agree to a joint opposition proposal for a legal amendment aimed at securing the release of the eight jailed lawmakers.
“Becoming a deputy should not be a method to get someone out of prison. They say that one should be able to be in Parliament if elected. But what about the jailed mayors then?” AKP deputy chairman Hüseyin Çelik said, referring to a number of Kurdish mayors who have been rounded up as part of a massive probe into alleged collaborators of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “People cannot claim that they can never be put in prison if they have been elected by the people. This cannot be. Or else it would become a precedent,” Çelik added.
The AKP is yet to formally discuss the opposition proposal and give its final say. The three opposition parties agreed last month on an amendment to Article 100 of the Criminal Procedures Law, under which lawmakers would be included in the scope of exemptions from pre-trial detention. They would remain on trial, but if convicted the sentences would be suspended until their parliamentary mandates expire.