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Turkish parliament passes bill allowing prisoners’ phone calls to be wiretapped

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A bill proposed by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) amending the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures, which allows the phone calls of prisoners jailed on terrorism charges to be wiretapped, has been passed by parliament, local media reported on Thursday.

The bill grants prison administrations the authority to wiretap the phone calls of people arrested or convicted on charges that include forming, managing or being a member of a terrorist organization, provided that they inform the inmate beforehand, so as to “protect public order, ensure public safety and the safety of penal institutions or prevent a crime from being committed.”

Phone call recordings of the prisoners cannot be shared with any people or institutions that aren’t specified by the law and are to to be erased within a year at the latest, provided that they aren’t used as evidence in any investigations or court proceedings, Turkish media reports said.

The bill allows convicts to send and receive electronic mails in institutions with the necessary infrastructure in line with procedures determined by the Justice Ministry.

Communications the convicts want to send their lawyers or officials can be delivered to the recipient either via post or electronic mail, according to the convict’s request, with all the measures preventing the access of persons other than the recipient to the correspondence taken.

The bill also extends convicts’ visiting time from one to one and a half hours and removes the requirement to wait for a minimum of one month between detainees and convicts’ compassionate leave for patient visits.

According to the local media reports, an article postponing the execution of the sentence of a female convict with a child under the age of 15, until the child turns 15, was removed from the text of the proposal.

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