Turkey Frees 23 Suspected Militants

The NYT reports that more than 20 suspected militants, including members of an extreme Islamist organization, were released from Turkish jails on Tuesday after a Supreme Court of Appeals ruling that limits to 10 years the time detainees can be held without being sentenced. The practice of jailing detainees indefinitely without sentences has long disturbed human rights advocates, who were only slightly mollified by the court ruling. They say the 10-year limit, which was based on a recent amendment to the Turkish criminal code, does not go far enough in securing detainees’ rights.
“There are numerous verdicts by the European Human Rights Court that limit imprisonment of detainees to reasonable terms,” said Suheyl Donay, a criminal law professor at Istanbul University. “This term is often not more than two years, so this ruling is a wrong one.”

The released detainees will not be able to leave the country and must report to the local police on a regular basis. Nevertheless, the prisoner releases and the prospect of many more to come — the Turkish news media have reported that more than 50,000 have applied for review of their cases — have raised concerns.

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