Turkey excludes sex offenders from early prison release after outcry, columnist says

The Turkish government has excluded sex offenders from prisoners to be released early on parole in response to the new coronavirus after meeting opposition parties, Hürriyet newspaper columnist Abdülkadir Selvi said on Monday.

The first version of draft legislation that would reduce jail time for a large number of prisoners, including drug dealers and sex offenders, led to a public outcry. But the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reshaped the bill after meetings with opposition parties, Selvi said.

People convicted of terrorism offences, sex crimes, violence against women and first-degree murder will not be eligible for early release, the columnist said.

Opposition parties criticised the exclusion of people jailed on terrorism charges, most of whom are journalists, opposition politicians, human rights defenders and dismissed public officials.

The AKP has brought forward the changes in order to reduce the prison population.