Regional bar associations: No crime discrimination in execution

14 bar associations have criticized the 3rd Judicial Reform Package which will pave the way for the release of 100 thousand inmates while allegedly excluding political prisoners: “What makes a state powerful is its justice.”

The 3rd Judicial Reform Package, which is expected to introduce reduced prison sentences, will pave the way for the release of 100 thousand inmates across Turkey while it will allegedly exclude political prisoners.

Releasing a joint statement for the press regarding the issue, 14 bar association have referred to the “equality in execution” principle and underlined that political prisoners should also be released.

The bar associations have briefly stated the following:

“As also known by the public, there are almost 300,000 prisoners in Turkey’s prisons, a number which has reached an all-time-high.

“While political, social and economic policies have a role in this high number, we think that the main factor is definitely the problematic attitude of Turkey’s criminal justice system. We are faced with a judiciary which puts aside the crime-punishment equation, the main purpose of a criminal justice system, and prioritizes the state, not the society.

“Besides, it is now generally accepted by the legal community that, in recent years, the measure of arrest is frequently abused and pre-trial detention has become a basic principle despite being defined as an exception. Due to all these crooked attitudes and malpractices, the number of prisoners is above prison capacities and, taken together with prison conditions, we are concerned that it will cause great legal and humanitarian tragedies.

“It has been released to the public that the law draft foreseeing an amendment to the regime of execution has been brought into Parliamentary agenda with the aim of reducing prison population in the face of this exponential increase in the number of prisoners.

“As again made known by the public, the amendment to be introduced to the regime of execution will aggravate the grave consequences of the abovementioned judicial crisis, let alone easing it.

“We believe that the social, political and economic crisis in the country can only be overcome and a new beginning can only be made to establish social peace if the regime of execution is amended for prisoners who are behind bars especially due to crimes against the state and their thoughts.

“The principle of equality governed by the Article 10 of the Constitution as well as the principle of equality before the law as guaranteed by international conventions and documents on basic rights and freedoms, along with the prohibition of discrimination, have been handled and accepted as a universal principle. While the Article 10 of the Constitution has regulated the state’s position to the principle of equality before the law, this bindingness has been consolidated with the Article 11. The obligation to implement, abide by and ensure other’s obedience to it has been primarily imposed on the state.

“As the main obligant of the principle, the state is obliged to act in accordance with the principle of equality before the law with its all bodies and officials on every level and of every quality and this obligation and principle foreseen for the state organs and administrative authorities do also have a dimension of non-discrimination.

“Considering the seriousness of the outbreak and prisoners being at a higher risk in that regard, we, as bar associations, shared our request that necessary and preventive measures be swiftly taken for all prisoners.

“We regard it as a legal and conscientious requirement that, in introducing the amendment to the regime of execution, the state has to abide by the principle of equality and prohibition of discrimination and has to introduce a regulation in accordance with the principle of ‘equality in execution’ without differentiating between crimes. It should not be forgotten that what makes a state powerful is its justice, not its power.”

Adıyaman Bar Association, Ağrı Bar Association, Batman Bar Association, Bingöl Bar Association, Bitlis Bar Association, Dersim Bar Association, Diyarbakır Bar Association, Hakkari Bar Association, Mardin Bar Association, Muş Bar Association, Siirt Bar Association, Ş.Urfa Bar Association, Şırnak Bar Association, Van Bar Association