Turkish Parliament Defies President by Approving Prison Amnesty Law

Published December 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Turkey's parliament defied President Ahmet Necdet Sezer by passing a controversial amnesty law on Thursday that could empty the country's over-crowded and riot-hit prisons by half. 

Sezer, who is a jurist by training, refused to sign the law last Friday because he said it was contrary to the principles of equity and justice. 

However the deputies adopted the law without changes by 282 votes to 85 with two abstentions, the private television station NTV reported, which means Sezer cannot reject it a second time. 

The amnesty law, which was first passed on December 8, would cut prison sentences by 10 years for most inmates including murderers. 

Rapists, counterfeiters and the Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan would not benefit from it. 

Under the law, prison sentences of up to 12 years given for political statements made in the media or at meetings would be suspended. 

It means that about half of Turkey's 72,000 inmates could be freed. 

The government promised to pass an amnesty law after general elections in April 1999. 

On Thursday, almost 600 inmates were still holding at bay security forces who launched nationwide raids two days ago to end a hunger strike over changes to Turkish jails -- ANKARA (AFP) 



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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