Home | Breaking News | Turkey: 38,000 Inmates To Be Freed Early Amid ‘Coup Overcrowding’
A Turkish gendarme patrols at the gate of the Metris prison during a demonstration in front of the Metris prison on June 24, 2016 in Istanbul. The United States expressed deep concern about basic freedoms in its ally Turkey after the arrest of three free speech activists. Reporters Without Borders Turkey representative Erol Onderoglu, journalist Ahmet Nesin and rights activist Sebnem Korur Fincanci were charged on Monday with "terrorist propaganda". / AFP / OZAN KOSE

Turkey: 38,000 Inmates To Be Freed Early Amid ‘Coup Overcrowding’

WT24 Desk

Around 38,000 prisoners in Turkey are set to be released early – apparently to make room for those arrested over last month’s attempted coup, agencies report.There have been reports of severe overcrowding in jails since plotters unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the move was not an amnesty or a pardon, and the inmates were being freed on parole. At least 270 people died in the the failed coup on 15 July and more than 35,000 were subsequently detained.

Around 17,000, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists, now face trial, while almost 11,600 of those originally held have since been released.The decree applies to inmates who committed their crimes before 1 July and have two years or less to serve of their sentences.

It means convicts who have served half of their prison term will be eligible for parole.But the move will not apply to those convicted of murder, domestic violence, sexual abuse or terrorism and other crimes against the state.

The coup was carried out by followers of the movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who infiltrated the military and other state institutions, according to the government.

Mr Gulen has denied any prior knowledge or involvement in the coup, but Ankara wants America to extradite him. Tens of thousands of people with suspected links to Mr Gulen have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the judiciary, media, education, health care, military and local government.

Meanwhile, police have carried out raids on 44 companies suspected of providing financial support to his movement The crackdown has raised concerns by the EU and human rights organisations, who have urged the Turkish government to show restraint.

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