COVID-19 Prison Watch: Weekly Newsletter-1
In December 2019, a disease called “Covid 19” began to appear in Wuhan province, China, and the outbreak that began in the city spread to all over the globe the disease was a pandemicat an incredible rate. Realizing the devastation caused by the disease and the possible catastrophes it would cause, the World Health Organization declared that the disease was “pandemic” by 16.03.2020. As of 20.04.2020, the number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 was 2,399,954 and the number of people who died was 164,943as of 20.04.2020. According to official sources, the disease also began in Turkey on 11.03.2020. As of 20.04.2020, Covid-19 was detected in 86,306 people in Turkey. Unfortunately, 2,017 of thses patients lost their lives. 017 people died.
The proposals which were put forward by the Human Rights Association (İHD), the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD), the Federation of Associations in Solidarity with Prisoners’ Families (MED TUHAD-FED) and the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) in their “Covid-19 Prisons Weekly Monitoring Bulletin:”
-Considering the exceptional nature of pre-trial detention, reviewing files of all the detainees based on the types of suspected crimes and implementing judicial control measures such as release pending trial or house arrest,
-Reforming Law no.5275 on criminal execution in light of the principle of equality in criminal execution,
-Abandoning disciplinary penalties related to conditional release, visitation and transfer, which lead to deprivation of rights for prisoners.
-Ensuring attorney-client communication via telephone until detainees’ release, taking into consideration the right of defence, on the condition that the practice will be limited to the pandemic.
-Urgently providing prisoners with free of charge cleaning materials in order to allow them to ensure their personal hygiene and to safeguard their health, including those without adequate financial means.
-Ensuring an adequate, well-balanced and healthy nutrition as well as vitamin supplements for prisoners until their release.
-Informing all personnel employed in prisons, taking all the steps and designating all applicable rules, adequately informing prisoners whose communication channels with the outside world are restricted, printing and distributing information brochures to prisoners in line with advices and warnings issued by the Ministry of Health and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), and increasing prisoners’ telephone communication rights to a rate of at least twice a week.
-It is imperative to regularly inform prisoners’ families, lawyers as well as the public about the coronavirus-related measures which have been taken or which are going to be taken in prisons and about prisoners’ health conditions.