66 political prisoners being held beyond end of sentences in Turkey

Despite completing their sentences, 66 political prisoners in Turkey have not been released by prison administration and oversight boards, constituting a violation of their most basic rights.

Duvar English

Some 66 political prisoners have not been released from Turkey’s prisons despite meeting the terms of their release, Mesopotamia Agency reported on Nov. 21.

The newly-established prison administration and oversight boards are keeping these prisoners behind bars far beyond the end of their sentences on charges of “bad behavior.”

Turkish prisons have recently been the sites of widespread human rights abuses, especially of political prisoners. In 2020, the government ordered the release of 90,000 prisoners to ease crowding in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, but political prisoners were exempt. Political prisoners have also been denied access to medical care and visitation rights. 

Now, reporting shows that some prisoners are not being released. 

Prison administration and oversight boards are meant to determine whether prisoners are in “good behavior” and therefore eligible for release at the end of their sentences. Since they began operating, they have blocked the release of 66 prisoners on arbitrary charges of “bad behavior.” 

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) group deputy chairs Meral Danış Beştaş and Saruhan Oluç submitted a parliamentary inquiry asking why these prisoners are being kept behind bars, but the motion was rejected by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and National Movement Party (MHP) deputies. The HDP representatives say an investigation is necessary in order to end this violation of human rights.