Turkey says prisoners serving lighter sentences would be transferred to open prisons amid reports of jail overcrowding since Ankara began its crackdown in the wake of the failed coup of July 2016.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday that “there is some overcrowding due to the fight against terror,” adding that major crimes such as terrorism, organized crime or child abuse, would be excluded from the reassignment policy.
He said the prisoners would not be granted amnesty, and the length of the jail sentence would not change.
On February 22, the Turkish Ministry of Justice revised its regulation, allowing for convicts with sentences shorter than 10 years who achieve at least one month of good behavior to be reassigned to more comfortable open prisons.
Ankara has so far arrested over 41,000 people and sacked more than 100,000 others, including military personnel, judges, and teachers, over suspected links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen as part of the post-coup crackdown. Many rights groups have denounced Ankara’s heavy clampdown.
Gulen has censured the coup attempt and strongly denied any involvement in the violence. Turkey remains in a state of emergency since the coup.