Turkish penal institutions start releasing inmates
The release of thousands of prisoners started early April 15 after a law lowering the time limits on conditional release was approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and published on the Official Gazette.
An estimated 15,000 inmates are expected to be released from the penal institutions and approximately 30,000 others from open prisons, the Justice Ministry said in a statement on April 15.
The law, that was adopted by the parliament on April 14, paves the way for approximately 45,000 prisoners in open prions going on leave.
Thus, an estimated 90,000 prisoners will benefit from the law.
The inmates who will be released and those that will go on leave will be informed about the coronavirus, will wear a mask and gloves and then leave the penal institution, Anadolu Agency reported.
The inmates will receive leaflets from the Health Ministry describing coronavirus measures. Law enforcement officers will take the necessary measures to avoid congestion at the exits.
The prisoners will be dropped from the penal institution to where they will go by buses to prevent the crowd that would be caused by relatives greeting the inmates at the prison gates.
The travel documents of convicts will be given in the penal institutions because travels between provinces are subject to permission. A limited number of convicts, whose coronavirus tests are positive and whose treatment continues, will be delivered to health institutions.
The permit to go home for inmates in open penal institutions will be valid until May 31. In line with the recommendations of the Scientific Committee, the Justice Ministry will be able to extend this deadline three times more for two months.
The bill, introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was supported by 279 lawmakers in the 600-seat chamber, while 51 voted against it. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli attended the general assembly discussions on late April 13 and voted for the amendment.
The amendment had been brought to Turkey’s agenda by the AKP’s main political ally, MHP a couple of years ago. MHP officials had long been pressing on the AKP to change the law in a way to reduce the term of the imprisonment of those who were sentenced for ordinary crimes.
Among the inmates to be released is notorious Turkish mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı.
In 1995, Çakıcı was convicted of instigating the murder of his wife in front of their step-son, Onur Özbizerdik. He was put on trial when he returned to Turkey and found guilty of instigating his ex-wife’s murder and sentenced to 19 years in prison.
He is also convicted of several crimes including organizing and leading a crime syndicate for the purpose of generating profit, instigating murder, instigating injury, and insulting Erdoğan.
Çakıcı was hospitalized on May 17, 2018, and was taken to the health facility from a prison in the Black Sea province of Bolu.
MHP leader Bahçeli paid a brief visit to Çakıcı at the hospital on May 23, 2018.