Three inmates in open prisons died from coronavirus: Justice minister
Three inmates out of 17 infected in open prisons were killed from the novel coronavirus, the justice minister has said, as parliament is continuing discussions on a bill that would release around 90,000 prisoners in a bid to ease the conditions in jails amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Seventeen prisoners in five open prisons have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Three inmates died during the treatment process,” Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül told reporters in Ankara on April 13. This marked the first casualties in the prisons since Turkey detected the first coronavirus case on March 11.
One infected inmate with a chronic disease is in intensive care unit while the other 13 are in good health, the minister stressed. He did not specify which open prisons the COVID-19 cases were.
He said no case has been spotted in closed prisons, adding 14 judges, 32 prosecutors, 79 wardens and 34 staff at forensic medicine institutions were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
Gül’s statement came as the parliamentary discussions on a draft bill overhauling the execution criminal law which would lead to the release of around 90,000 inmates from the open prisons are still ongoing.
The release of the inmates is expected to ease the conditions in the already overcrowded prisons especially at a time when the spread of the virus could not yet be controlled.
He also informed that prosecutions were launched against 1,097 people in 71 cities on various charges related to the measures taken by the government to curb the spread of the outbreak. Some 732 are charged for “spreading” manipulative news on social media, eight persons for “insulting the elderly,” 207 for breaching the quarantine and 145 for stockpiling.