38,000 inmates freed early to make room for those arrested after failed coup

About 38,000 prisoners in Turkey are set to be released early - apparently to make room for those arrested over last month’s attempted coup. The move would not apply to convicts guilty of murder, sexual crimes, “terrorism” or state security crimes, according to official notices. And it was not an amnesty or a pardon, and the inmates were being freed on parole, justice minister Bekir Bozdag said. Instead, it is thought to have been introduced amid reports of severe overcrowding in jails since plotters unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the government of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This measure is not an amnesty. As a result of this regulation, approximately 38,000 people will be released from closed and open prisons at the first stage.

Justice minister Bekir Bozdag

At least 270 people died in the the failed coup on 15 July and more than 35,000 were subsequently detained. About 17,000, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists, now face trial, while almost 11,600 of those held in the immediate afermath have since been released. The latest 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.