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Turkey: non-discriminatory release of prisoners in fight against COVID-19

release of prisoners in fight against COVID-19

MEPs express their solidarity and support for the increasing efforts to fight the pandemic in Turkey

European Parliament’s standing Rapporteur on Turkey, Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, ES), and Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, DE), said:“We would like to express our solidarity with the Turkish people in these difficult times.Whatever the state of play of our political relationship, we are all on the same side in this and we need to act together to fight the pandemic. We call on the European Commission and the member states to include Turkey in the efforts that the EU is making in this combat, also by mobilising funds from the EU Solidarity Fund or other instruments to help Turkey, if Ankara requests this.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We welcome the Turkish government’s plan to substitute prison time with alternatives such as early parole or house arrest, which could apply to up to 100.000 inmates. This measure is in line with the recent call made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to all governments.However, it is crucial to apply this in a non-discriminatory and objective way, based on health criteria and on the risks that released prisoners may pose to society.In Turkey, there are currently hundreds of journalists, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, politicians, academics, human rights defenders, artists and others who are in pre-trial detention or serving sentences without evidence that they committed any violent act or crime. To exempt them from the early release measures would represent an aggravated punishment and unjustified unfair treatment, as they do not represent any risk to public security. We urge the Turkish authorities to follow the call made by the UN High Commissioner and release every person detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting political views”.

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