Law Releasing Prisoners to Avoid COVID-19 Outbreaks" in Prisons is a Violation of International Human Rights Laws, "US congresswoman Caroline Maloney said in a message to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Turkey passed a law on April 14 to release up to 90,000 prisoners, by extending the criteria for granting early release, however, the pandemic mitigation measure did not include thousands of people who had been in previous detention or were imprisoned under "anti-terrorism" laws widely defined in Turkey.
Among the prisoners excluded are lawyers, journalists, politicians, teachers, civil servants, artists and human rights defenders.
In the message, posted on the Twitter account of a Democrat, Caroline Maloni Pompeo urged public pressure on the Turkish government to amend the amnesty law and release political prisoners on humanitarian grounds.
"It is quite clear, with the exclusion of these political prisoners, that the Turkish government pursues policies of discrimination against some prisoners on the basis of their political opinions, in clear violation of its obligations under international human rights laws," wrote Caroline Maloney.
"Many of these prisoners have been arrested and falsely accused of supporting terrorism just for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."
Caroline Malone, at the end of her letter, also urged Pompeo to put pressure the Turkish government to amend the law whereby these prisoners would be released.
The message came after a report by the agency of Mesopotamia announced 107 positive cases of coronavirus in Turkey's Silivri prison, where there are currently fifteen wards in the prison complex being quarantined, and one prisoner died after infecting the virus.
Overcrowding in Turkey's prisons made social exclusion, good hygiene, and other key measures to reduce coronavirus transmission between prisoners impossible, and inmates also reported problems with the quality of food and the medical care they received.