Turkey’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday that will allow the release of tens of thousands of prisoners as part of the country’s ongoing struggle against the COVID-19 epidemic.
Political prisoners who are convicted or being held in pre-trial detention over “terror or/and coup” links are exempted.
In other words, thousands of purge-victims are exempted.
With the passage of the bill, Turkish courts are expected to release around 45,000 prisoners to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Three people have died of coronavirus in Turkish prisons so far, according to the country’s justice minister, Abdulhamit Gül.
The minister also said that 17 other convicts in five open prisons have contracted the virus.
Turkey has a total of 384 prisons.
These overcrowded, unhygienic prisons are a perfect breeding ground for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mehmet Yeter, a 70-year-old inmate at Turkey’s Samsun prison, became the first person to die from the pandemic last week.
Tens of thousands of purge-victim civil servants, judicial officials, military personnel, journalists and politicians are exempted from Erdogan's release bill.
— Turkey Purge (@TurkeyPurge) April 13, 2020
[THREAD] President Erdogan's plan to release "thousands of prisoners" to stem Covid-19, isn't expected to include political prisoners who are being held in pre-trial detention over terror links. In other words, thousands of purge-victims are exempted || https://t.co/supM2OOyH9 pic.twitter.com/3JEDZ10Hlp
— Turkey Purge (@TurkeyPurge) March 20, 2020