Erdoğan chairs cabinet meeting on amnesty bill through video conferencing amid virus fears

Turkish President Erdoğan on March 25 held a cabinet meeting to discuss a legal amendment seeking to reduce the sentences issued to inmates, except for terror, narcotics and sex offenders. Erdoğan attended the video conferencing from Huber Mansion in Istanbul's Tarabya neighborhood. No statement was released following the meeting.

Duvar English

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 25 held a meeting with the government and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials to discuss a legal amendment seeking to free thousands of prisoners amid coronavirus fears, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The meeting was held as a videoconference. Erdoğan joined the meeting from Istanbul, along with Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın.

On the other end of the video conference were Vice President Fuat Oktay, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, AKP Parliamentary Group Chair Naci Bostancı, as well as AKP Parliamentary Group Deputy Chairs Mehmet Muş, Muhammet Emin Akbaşoğlu, Cahit Özkan, Özlem Zengin, Bülent Turan and who joined the meeting from the capital Ankara.

Officials did not release a statement as to what was discussed during the high-level meeting.

Vice President Oktay and Justice Minister Gül attend the meeting from Ankara.

The risk the coronavirus pandemic poses in Turkey’s prisons has prompted the government to accelerate a judicial plan to reduce the time served by inmates.

The law amendment will exclude those inmates who were sentenced due to cases stemming from sexual assault, narcotics, terrorism and repeat offender.

For the rest of the offenders, the law will allow prosecutors to halve existing sentences.

Led by the AKP and its coalition ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the judiciary reform package is expected be presented to the Parliament next week.

Reduction in sex offense sentences included in judiciary reform fast-tracked under coronavirus precautionsReduction in sex offense sentences included in judiciary reform fast-tracked under coronavirus precautions