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Turkey To Temporarily Release 45,000 Prisoners Amid Pandemic

Turkey could temporarily release 45,000 prisoners and permanently release thousands more to curb the spread of COVID-19 in its prisons.
Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 14, 2020

Turkey will temporarily release around 45,000 prisoners to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in its jails. The Turkish parliament approved the measure Tuesday with the support of the ruling AK Party and its allies.

The law will release eligible prisoners until the end of May. A separate provision allows a similar number of prisoners to be released permanently to reduce overcrowding.

On Monday, the Turkish Justice Ministry reported 17 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among prisoners and three deaths. Dozens of prison and courthouse personnel have also tested positive for the disease, including judges and prosecutors.

The law, however, has been criticized for excluding people who were charged or convicted of terrorism in connection with a failed coup attempt in 2016. The crackdown swept up thousands of civil servants, politicians and journalists and caused Turkey's prison population to swell to nearly 300,000 — reportedly the second-largest in Europe.

Contains footage from CNN.