Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for a stay of execution of a parole law that excludes political prisoners, the Tr724 news website reported.
The CHP appealed to the court in April 2020, challenging the constitutionality of the law in both form and substance and demanding its annulment.
The law on the execution of sentences, enacted on April 15, 2020, was conceived as a measure against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic to the country’s overcrowded prisons.
The legislation included the possibility of early parole and house arrest for a broad range of offenders yet excluded political prisoners, including opposition politicians, journalists, lawyers, academics and human rights defenders convicted under the country’s controversial counterterrorism laws.
The law prompted calls from the UN, the EU and rights groups for the non-discriminatory reduction of prison populations.
The purge of thousands of dissidents in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016 has filled Turkey’s prisons, which today are overcrowded with tens of thousands of political prisoners.
Yunus Alkaç, director general of Prisons and Detention Centers, who spoke at a session of the Justice Committee in parliament in May, said 50 inmates have died of COVID-19 in Turkey’s jails since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country in March 2020.