Do what you like but do not join the opposition!
The government, which has ‘prided’ itself on not issuing pardons, is shaping the penal system in line with its goals.
IT APPLIES TO BRIBE TAKERS BUT NOT JOURNALISTS
Those convicted of terrorism offences on account of their news reports, comments they have made or their social media posts will be unable to benefit from the provision making transfer to open prison easier. Those convicted of common crimes like bribery or fraud, on the other hand, will be able to walk free without serving virtually any prison time.
RAPISTS ALREADY BENEFIT
Even if entry to open prison is fully barred to ‘terrorism’ criminals, it is available for those convicted of rape, which falls under the categories of sexual assault and child exploitation. As to those sentenced to life for murder, they will be able to move to open prison if awarded reductions such as those for unjust incitement or good behaviour.
One of the areas in which the AKP has been most successful at managing social perception is the area of the law, an area in which it has actually scored its lowest marks. The ruling party, mindful of the deep trauma left in society by the legislation known as the ‘Rahşan Pardon’ of 2000, has steered clear of legislating for pardons and has used this to score propaganda points. Despite this, the ruling party has embarked on frequent and complex changes that vary from crime to crime in regulations on the execution of sentences in line with its own goals. The government has rocked the penal justice system with legislation that significantly reduces the time convicts spend in prison without calling this a pardon. One of the government’s most significant moves has been to make transfers to open prisons easier and to parole convicts who have served only a tiny portion of their sentences. Since the conditions of penal servitude at open prisons are entirely different from those at closed prisons, such practices amount to indirect pardon. One possible goal behind the widening of the remit of open prisons, designed for petty criminals and convicts who have served a very large portion of their sentences, to encompass serious crime is to create room in prisons for more detainees.
One month in jail under a ten-year sentence
Under the most recent amendment made to the Allocation to Open Prison Regulation, convicts sentenced to less than ten years’ imprisonment will move to open prisons after having spent only one month in closed prisons. As to those sentenced to ten years or more, they will move to open prisons after having served one-tenth of their sentence in closed prisons. The provision does not extend to “terrorist” offences, regardless of whether or not violence was involved.
Nobody who stands accused of making propaganda for a terrorist organisation, acting on behalf of a terrorist organisation or membership of a terrorist organisation on account of their news reports, comments they have made or their social media posts will be able to benefit from the provision, above all journalists. Journalists, politicians and others who have been convicted of terrorism offences despite having had no involvement in acts of violence and no organic tie with illegal organisations will become eligible for release after having served three-quarters of their sentences in closed prisons. For example, a person who is sentenced to a ten-year custodial sentence for such crimes will be released on parole after having served seven and a half years.
The provisions made will see to it that those who commit a great many common crimes such as bribery, corruption, embezzlement, fraud, bid rigging, obscenity and incitement to prostitution will serve virtually no prison time. The government has introduced a variety of legislation to this end since 2012. Allocation to open prison will at the same time pave the way for convicts to attain full freedom through parole. In this way, a person who has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment will be released on parole without entering prison at all. A convict sentenced to nine years and eleven months will stay in a closed prison for only one month. This convict will then be released after having spent two and a half years in open prison. A person serving a custodial sentence of fifteen years, on the other hand, will move to an open prison after having spent one and a half years in closed prison, and will be released four years later.
Rapists and murderers
Even if the path to open prison is fully closed for ‘terrorism’ criminals, it is kept open for rapists. According to Article 6/2-a that was amended on 18 August 2016, those convicted of such offences can move to open prisons provided less than three years remain until their conditional release date. A convicted rapist who has been handed down a fifteen-year sentence will be able to move to open prison three years before the end of the ten-year conditional release period. Convicted murderers on aggravated life sentences cannot move to open prison but those sentenced to life can be transferred to open prison five years prior to their conditional release. As to convicts whose life sentences are reduced to determinate sentences through such reductions as unjust incitement, frequently applied in murders of women, and good behaviour, they are entitled to move to open prisons like other convicts.
TREATMENT VARIES FROM CRIME TO CRIME
-As a rule, the entitlement to be allocated to open prison is conditional on those sentenced to terms of less than a total of ten years serving only one month in a jail, and those on sentences of ten years or more serving one-tenth of their term there, ‘good behaviour’ and there remaining seven years or less until their conditional release. Covered by this rule are those convicted of the offences of fraud, damaging property, abuse of trust, voluntary manslaughter if convicted to less than life, wounding, causing death through negligence, wounding with intent, threat, blackmail, deprivation of freedom, defamation, violation of privacy, recording personal data, violation of communications confidentiality, obtaining and publishing personal data, fraud, slander, IT offences, breach of duty, bribery, corruption and embezzlement.
-Those convicted to life imprisonment or for the offences of looting, theft and manufacturing or dealing in drugs, on the other hand, are entitled to move to open prison with five years remaining until their conditional release.
-As to those convicted of the offences of sexual assault, rape, sexual exploitation of children, spousal murder, wounding or torment, they have to wait until three years remain until their conditional release.
-Those who have no entitlement to move to open prison are those on aggravated life sentences, convicts who are on ‘repeat’ sentences for a second time, those convicted of political offences (terrorism), those subjected to coercive custody outside the enforcement and bankruptcy law and those convicted of another offence while serving time in a closed prison.
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