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Amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in Turkey’s overcrowded and unsanitary prisons, the health and lives of prisoners and staff are at increased risk. The Turkish government is preparing a draft law that will reportedly lead to the release of up to 100,000 prisoners. However, it would exclude those who have been imprisoned unfairly under anti-terror laws simply for exercising their rights, including journalists, human rights defenders, and people in pre-trial detention.
Amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, the serious health threats that the overcrowding and unsanitary facilities already pose to Turkey’s prison population of nearly 300,000 prisoners and about tens of thousands of prison staff, will be seriously exacerbated. This is putting the health and lives of prisoners and staff at serious risk.