Turkish party prepares convict amnesty bill

Turkey’s right-wing National Movement Party (MHP) have completed the draft of a bill that will grant amnesty to some convicts and will submit it to parliament after it opens on 1 October, according to the Anatolian News Agency.

The 8 article draft bill was created by a committee consisting of the MHP’s legal experts led by Vice Chair Feti Yıldı, who said, “In the draft bill we have prepared, there are reductions, amnesties and suspensions of sentences. Of course, while we consider the families of inmates, we also have to consider those who have been harmed and the victims of relevant crimes,” adding the bill was not intended to pardon people “who took on crime as a profession.”

The proposed bill excludes prisoners convicted on charges of membership of terror organizations as well as those convicted over charges of child abuse and femicide.

An amnesty was one of the MHP’s manifesto pledges in the run up to elections held in July this year, though at the time the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), with which the MHP is allied, responded in lukewarm fashion.

The proposed amnesty will be controversial for several reasons, not least MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s connections to gang leader Alaattin Çakıcı, jailed in connection with 41 murders. Bahceli visited Çakıcı in in the run to the July elections and has called for his release, saying, “How just and fair is it to leave these brothers of ours rotting behind walls?”

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