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260,144 people jailed in Turkey’s overcrowded prisons

According to recent data released by Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, 260,144 people are jailed in the country’s 385 overcrowded prisons, with 57,710 inmates in pre-trial detention.

Speaking in Parliament on Nov. 20, 2018 the Turkish minister also said 614,901 people who were released on probation are being monitored by 140 offices that oversee the early release program. In total, 3,710,031 people had been found eligible for early release as of November 2018, he said.

A total of 44,930 people have been convicted and are serving their sentences or are in pre-trial detention under the country’s abusive anti-terrorism laws, of whom 31,442 are political prisoners accused of belonging to the Gülen movement.

US-based Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen, an outspoken critic of the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government, leads the movement.

In contrast, the number of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) suspects in Turkish prisons is recorded at 1,150. The Turkish opposition often accuses the Erdoğan government of going easy on armed radical groups including ISIL.

Gül also noted 9,731 people are jailed for their alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union.

The number of convicts or detainees in jail on charges or accusations of involvement in organized crime is 3,775, according to the minister.

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