Forty-two inmates out of 45 who were tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Turkey’s Düzce Prison as cases countrywide have skyrocketed, reaching 2,024,601 on Dec. 20, Bold Medya reported.
A family member of one of the inmates said they learned about the test result last week after checking an online government database where individual health records can be accessed. “Nineteen of the 20 inmates in a ward tested positive. In another ward 23 out of 25 tested positive,” the person said. “We call the prison administration and they say they are well, but how can we believe them? So many people have died. Phone calls are not allowed until they test negative.”
The Turkish parliament passed an early parole law on April 14 aimed at reducing the inmate population of the country’s overcrowded prisons due to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation, which excludes political prisoners such as politicians, journalists, lawyers, academics and human rights defenders convicted under the country’s controversial counterterrorism laws, has prompted calls from the UN, the EU and rights groups for the non-discriminatory reduction of prison populations.