Eleven political parties: The law draft is like death penalty

The HDP and ten other political parties in Turkey are calling for a protest against the planned bill on Criminal Enforcement. The new regulation, which could release tens of thousands of prisoners, explicitly excludes political prisoners.

Eleven political parties in Turkey, including the HDP, DBP, EMEP and ESP, demand equal treatment of prisoners in a joint statement on the draft amendments to the Criminal Enforcement Law.

The statement includes the following:

“The proposal for the Penal Code, which will be debated this week in the Turkish Parliament, contains many changes to the penal system. However, these changes are disproportionate to universal legal norms and human rights and democratic criteria, as what would be expected from the AKP/MHP government.

According to the 2020 data, there are a total of 282,703 prisoners in 355 prisons. The overcrowding in the prisons is at a level never seen before in the history of Turkey. Poor nutrition, unheated and unventilated detention rooms, lack of daylight, inadequate medical staff, long waiting times for medical treatment, exclusive access to paid hygiene products and insufficient supply of clean and hot water make the prisons a breeding ground for disease anyway. In the event of an epidemic, they are high-risk places.

The right to life is disregarded

The right to health and life of prisoners are supposed to be secured by the state and the government. However, the new regulation proposed by the government shows that the AKP/MHP bloc only thinks of those close to it in this respect. The rights of the opposition members are openly violated. This government is discriminatory. The imprisoned politicians, former members of parliament, mayors, journalists, academics, students and citizens who have used their right to freedom of expression in the social media are excluded from this regulation. The government disregards the right to life of those who are in opposition to it.

Furthermore, the draft law does not include the release or suspension of the execution of the sick, elderly and mothers. It is an expression of the government's misanthropic approach.

Arresting and sentencing opposition members via the judiciary is common practice of this government. The fact that political prisoners, who have been put in prison by the government-dependent and partisan judiciary, cannot benefit from the new regulation is contrary to universal legal norms and also to the precedents of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court.

Like death penalty

If the new legislation is passed in this form, new wounds will open up in society and prisoners will be condemned to the death penalty. The planned law is the current equivalent of the words of junta leader Kenan Evren after the military coup of September 12, 1980: "Shouldn't we hang them up and keep them fed? In the understanding of the governing coalition, opposition members have no right to life. Yesterday, as today, this mindset prevails: If you are in opposition to the government, you must die.

We declare once again that the exclusion of political prisoners from this arrangement is unacceptable. Thieves, corrupt people, the Mafia, drug dealers, people who commit violence against women, rape and abuse children can benefit from the law. Those who have exercised their right to freedom of thought and expression are excluded.

As the undersigned parties, we call on legal and human rights organisations, opposition parties, all sections of the civil society opposition, trade unions, associations, professional organisations and all people of conscience to raise the voice of justice against this legislation and the discriminatory and inhuman attitude of the government.”

The undersigned parties:

Party of Democratic Regions (Demokratik Bölgeler Partisi, DBP)

Revolutionary Party (Devrimci Parti)

Labor Party (Emek Partisi, EMEP)

Socialist Party of the Oppressed (Ezilenlerin Sosyalist Partisi, ESP)

Peoples’ Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi, HDP)

Socialist Solidarity Platform (SODAP)

Left Party (Sol Parti)

Socialist Refoundation Party (Sosyalist Yeniden Kuruluş Partisi, SYKP)

Workers Party of Turkey (Türkiye İşçi Partisi, TİP)

Communist Party of Turkey (Türkiye Komünist Partisi, TKP)

Green Left Party (Yeşil Sol Parti)