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  Turkey to free 38,000 pre-coup prisoners

Turkey to free 38,000 pre-coup prisoners

AFP
Published : Aug 18, 2016, 6:13 am IST
Updated : Aug 18, 2016, 6:13 am IST

Turkey on Wednesday said it would free 38,000 prisoners not linked to the failed coup in a move apparently aimed at releasing pressure on prisons filled to bursting with suspects from the putsch.

Bekir Bozdag
 Bekir Bozdag

Turkey on Wednesday said it would free 38,000 prisoners not linked to the failed coup in a move apparently aimed at releasing pressure on prisons filled to bursting with suspects from the putsch.

The announcement came as Turkey presses on with the biggest purge in its modern history after the failed July 15 coup by rogue elements in the military, whose shockwaves are still being felt one month on.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a series of messages on Twitter that the release was “not an amnesty” and the convicts were not being pardoned but released on parole.

It will not apply to convicts guilty of murder, terrorism or state security crimes, or the thousands jailed after the putsch which took place on July 15.

“The regulation refers to crimes committed before July 1, 2016. The crimes committed after July 1, 2016 are outside its scope,” Mr Bozdag said.

“As a result of this regulation, approximately 38,000 people will be released from closed and open prisons at the first stage.” The timing means that it is impossible that anyone detained for complicity in the coup can be released as part of the mass parole move.

According to Turkish officials, over 35,000 people have been detained since the coup attempt, although almost 11,600 of them have since been released.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said that as of August 16 there were of 2,13,499 people in Turkish in prisons while the total capacity was only for 1,87,351 people.

It is likely that releasing convicts not linked to the coup will make room for the alleged coup plotters who still face trials and heavy jail sentences.

Turkey is in the throes of a three-month state of emergency imposed after the coup. which the authorities describe as an attempt by the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

In the latest move Wednesday, the authorities fired another 2,692 civil servants mostly from the police, the official gazette announced. Some 75,000 people have already been dismissed from their jobs over alleged links to Gulen.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul