Turkish parliament passes bill to free thousands from prison amid coronavirus
April 14 2020 03:00 PM
A general view shows the deserted Istiklal Street during a two-day curfew which was imposed to preve
A general view shows the deserted Istiklal Street during a two-day curfew which was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Istanbul, Turkey on, April 11

Reuters/Istanbul


* Erdogan's AKP, nationalist MHP allies supported the bill
* 17 confirmed Covid-19 cases among prisoners, three died

Turkey's parliament on Tuesday passed a law that will allow the release of tens of thousands of prisoners to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees from the coronavirus.
President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party and nationalist MHP allies supported the bill, which was accepted with 279 votes for and 51 votes against, deputy parliament speaker Sureyya Sadi Bilgic said.
The law will open the way for the temporary release of around 45,000 prisoners to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Those eligible will be released under judicial control until the end of May and the Justice Ministry will be able to extend the period three times by a maximum of two months each time, according to the law.
A similar number would be released permanently under a separate part of the legislation aimed at reducing prison overcrowding.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said on Monday there were 17 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among prisoners, including three deaths, and 79 prison personnel had also tested positive.



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