With the Article 32 of the State of Emergency Decree Law entered into force upon its publication on the 17 August 2016 dated Official Gazette and adding the provisional Article 32 to the 5275 numbered Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures, probation period was abated from two third to one half in order for most of the criminal prisoners to benefit from and the probation period for those who have 1-year sentence remaining were changed to 2-year in the regulation, and an “implicit State of Emergency amnesty” was granted by this extension.
Reminding the remarks of Human Rights Association (HRA) and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) concerning the declaration of the State of Emergency on 21 July 2016 and the Decree Law regarding the State of Emergency on 26 July 2016, we would like to emphasize that the State of Emergency should be lifted immediately and the State of Emergency Decree Laws, which are contrary to the Article 15/2 of the Constitution, Article 15/2 of the ECHR and Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, should be revoked.
According to the overall briefings and statistics of General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses concerning Prisons in the official website of the Ministry of Justice, the situation in Turkish Prisons is as follows: In Turkey as of 27.07.2015, there are 364 penal institutions in total as;
286 closed prisons,
63 self-contained open prisons,
2 juvenile correctional facilities,
6 women’s closed prisons,
4 women’s open prisons,juvenile closed detention centers,
and their capacity is for 183.871 persons.
Human Rights Association (HRA) is a non-governmental and voluntary organization. Founded by 98 human rights defenders in 1986, the association currently has 34 branches, 7 representation offices and 8108 members. Being the oldest and biggest human rights organization in Turkey, HRA’s “unique and determined goal” is to work on the subject of ‘human rights and freedoms”.
According to the official statistics of Ministry of Justice, the situation in prisons as of 01.04.2016 is as follows:
|Distribution Based on Some Crime Groups (As of 01.04.2016)
* The data in this table is drawn up based on the 10 crimes committed or allegedly committed by convicts and prisoners in penal institutions as of 01.04.2016 and shows the number of crimes including those committed more than once by a person. For this reason, the grand total in the table (187.011) is not concordant with the number of prisoners and convicts (187.557) who were in penal institutions on the same dates.
Considering the table above, the prisoners, especially those called as political prisoner and who must be jailed in accordance with the crimes within the scope of Anti-terror Law and other special laws, are not included. 161.165 of this table composes convicts and de jure prisoners, and 26.282 of them composes prisoners.
However, according to the information given by the Minister of Justice on a television channel, which was published on the official website, there are 215.000 prisoners in Turkish Prisoners. Jailing 215.000 people, all by itself, should be considered as maltreatment in the prisons which can accommodate 183.000 people with inflated capacity.
As of late 2002 when AKP came into power, there were 59.429 persons in Turkish Prisons. Therefore, today’s numbers increasing to 215.000, in spite of the fact that tens of thousands of people released from prisons in accordance with the supervised release provisions in the last two years, shows that an unfair and authoritarian governance was exposed during the rule of this political power, and how bad the situation is.
About 20.000 people currently arrested during the arrestments launched in the wake of the 15 July Military Coup Attempt brought about the need for making room, and the political power introduced an implicit State of Emergency amnesty for those committed less dangerous crimes with respect to the government.
We particularly would like to indicate that the implicit State of Emergency amnesty introduced with the 671 numbered Decree Law further deteriorates the existing discrimination and double standards. In such a way that,
1- As far as HRA identified in Turkish Prisons, there are 926 sick prisoners and 331 of them are seriously ill. Most of the people who are located in such centers as Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir etc. and whose treatments have been performed in difficult conditions have been transported to other prisons in order to make room for approximately 20.000 people stated to be arrested subsequent to the 15 July Military Coup Attempt. Principally, 331 people who are seriously ill should be immediately released in a humanistic and legal manner.
2- With the implicit State of Emergency amnesty, the AKP Government took the action in such subject especially as infamous crimes which is not approved by the public opinion, but did not resolve an important humanitarian issue which has been on public’s agenda for years, in spite of a number of law amendments concerning the issue. Required legal and administrative measures should be taken in order for sick prisoners to be released and treated. If needed, the Article 16 of the enforcement law should be amended or the issue should resolved with a provisional article.
3- In accordance with the 5275 numbered Enforcement Law in effect, in order for criminal and political prisoners’ release on probation, they must serve two third and three fourth of their sentences, respectively. While the situation went in criminal prisoners’ favor with the 671 numbered Decree Law, it remained the same and aggravated in terms of political prisoners. With this implementation, the political authority unbalanced the situation and thoroughly increased discrimination. In order to resolve the discrimination created during the enforcement of crime and punishment, the Article 5 of Anti-terror Law should be revoked and the increase by half which was given by the Article 3 and 4 of the same law should be ended, according to the Article 17 of the Anti-terror Law, the proportion of one third which is the probation period in the crimes committed within the scope of the Anti-terror Law, should be brought to one half, and the discrimination should be resolved by revoking the 4th paragraph of the Article 107 of the 5275 numbered Law. The last paragraph of the Article 17 of the Anti-terror Law should be immediately revoked due to the fact that it includes “Extended Capital Punishment”.
4- While the AKP Government started to release approximately 100.000 people with the State of Emergency amnesty, they should lift the absolute isolation on Abdullah Öcalan since he has any kind of legal rights, and provide him with meetings with his family and attorneys. Even though the Minister of Justice stated with regard to the Military Coup attempt that there have been activities also in İmralı Island, and still not letting any visitor go to the Island is such a big illegality and political irresponsibility.
5-There are strong claims with regard to torture and maltreatment in letters of complaint and attorney applications which have been continuously coming from Turkish Prisons. Especially after the 15 July Military Coup Attempt, these claims gradually increased. Turkey ratified UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and carried out legal regulation with national prevention mechanism, however, Turkey acted against the convention by not implementing it. The 6701 numbered Law on Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey entered into force upon publication in the 20 April 2016 dated Official Gazette. The duty of investigation and prevention of torture and maltreatment claims, which is the national prevention mechanism was assigned to the Institution. To begin with, we would like indicate that the Law is not prepared in accordance with the UN Paris Principles, and we expressed our thoughts and proposals to the Parliamentary Human Rights Inquiry Committee and Government orally and in writing. In spite of all of our objections, nothing can be done because of the fact that the Committee required to be established for the Institution to work still is not established. Turkish prisons should be immediately investigated by independent committees. Representatives of human rights organizations should be allowed to perform investigations in prisons.
1- State of Emergency should be lifted, Decree Laws enacted within the scope of the State of Emergency should be revoked and regulations in these Decree Laws should be handled by the Parliament.
2- Discrimination in execution should be abolished.
3- Sick prisoners should be released by the virtue of human and legal reasons.
4- Absolute isolation on Abdullah Öcalan should be lifted and he should be allowed to see his family and
5- Claims of torture and maltreatment should be allowed to be investigated on-site by independent
6- National prevention mechanism according to the OPCAT should be immediately established.
HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION