ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Turkey will conditionally free 38,000 prisoners from its overcrowded jails, its justice minister said Wednesday.
The announcement came after another 23,000 people were detained or arrested since a failed coup against the Turkish government on July 15. Although Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag did not specifically suggest the prisoner release is meant to free space in jails for the suspects allegedly involved in the coup attempt, he announced that only those involved in crimes committed before July 1 would have their sentences altered.
He added those to be released have two or fewer years left in their incarceration, have served at least half their term and have demonstrated good behavior. Those convicted of murder, domestic violence, sexual abuse or crimes against the state will not be considered for early release.
Bozdag’s decree comes as extra jail capacity is needed, and during a state of emergency in Turkey, declared July 20, in which the issuance of emergency statutory decrees by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s Cabinet without routine procedures is permissible under the law.
About 240 people died in the coup attempt, with another 2,200 injured.