TURKISH PARLIAMENT PASSES PENAL REFORM LAW
Turkey's parliament ratified a penal reform bill early on April 14 aimed at reducing the sentences of thousands of prisoners, paving the way for their release in a bid to ease overcrowding and protect them from the coronavirus.
The bill was supported by 279 lawmakers in the 600-seat chamber while 51 voted against it.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-prepared the reform with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Sex crimes that offend the public's conscience as well as drug crimes, first degree murder, crimes of violence against women and terrorist crimes were excluded from the reform.
The reform will enable home confinement for some inmates over 65, women who have children aged six and under and sick prisoners who cannot take care of themselves.
But it will toughen sentences on those who organize criminal groups for the purpose of monetary profit.
The reform will also bring measures for inmates with communicable diseases.
The measures will roughly double the number of beneficiaries of alternative penal arrangements from about 45,000 to 90,000 in home confinement due to such illnesses.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül on April 13 confirmed 17 cases of the novel coronavirus in five open prisons, while three inmates have died from the virus.