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World

Turkey coup arrests push jails to breaking point

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World

Turkey coup arrests push jails to breaking point

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COMING UP:Turkey coup arrests push jails to breaking point

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00:00:00
>> Turkey's prisons are at breaking point. Even before last month's coup attempt, the country's penal system was overstretched. Now, they're struggling to cope with an influx of thousands detained in the aftermath of the failed putsch on the 15th of July. Reuters Bureau Chief Nick Tattersall is in Istanbul.
00:00:18
>> The numbers of detainees has gone up sharply under the current government. And the legal system, the courts, have also been in logjam with hundreds of thousands of cases backed up in provincial and local courts. So these latest detentions put pressure on the system. Government officials insist that there's no problem, that they have space to hold detainees, that they have rooms available to question them, and that the system is still working.
00:00:47
But members of the opposition, human rights activists, and lawyers are saying that there is a problem.>> There are now so many people allegedly involved in the failed coup, that the government says it doesn't have a courthouse big enough to try them all. It will need to build new ones.
00:01:03
And about 3,000 prosecutors and judges have been detained, making it even more difficult to find members of the judiciary to handle trials.>> A senior member of the main opposition who's been on a commission investigating the state of Turkey's jails has said he's seen evidence of inmates sleeping around toilets, sleeping in corridors and says that the situation is only getting worse.
00:01:24
Human rights activists and lawyers have been concerned by images, some of them broadcast openly on Turkish television stations, of some of the detainees in the immediate aftermath of the coup being detained, stripped half naked and some of them apparently having been beaten.>> The total number of defendants could reach 30,000.
00:01:42
In the past, Turkey has used amnesties to reduce prison numbers, the last in the year 2000, proposed by the wife of the then Prime Minister. It lowered the jail population by more than a quarter, but three years later, the numbers were back where they started.