Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons signed with Uzbekistan on March 29, 2022 to parliament for approval. According to the agreement, which allows a person convicted of a crime in one country to serve their sentence in another, the extradited convict can also be pardoned or released in the country to which he or she was sent. The agreement’s ratification process, started three months after its signing, is moving forward quite quickly compared to normal parliamentary practice.
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) member and Uzbek citizen Abdulkadir Masharipov, the convicted murderer of 39 people, is currently serving a sentence in a Turkish prison.
In the note of justification he sent to parliament, Erdoğan stated that the agreement was signed to develop judicial cooperation between Turkey and Uzbekistan, to establish the legal framework for cooperation in the transfer of convicts, to allow the execution of sentences of convicted persons in their own country or in the country of residence of relatives, close friends or family members and to contribute to the social rehabilitation of the convicts.2-4529
Under the agreement, a sentenced person may be transferred if that person is a citizen of the administering state, the state to which the sentenced person may be or has been transferred in order to serve his sentence, or who, without citizenship, has strong social ties to that state. In other words, even if a person is not an Uzbek or a Turkish citizen, proving strong social ties to these countries, they will be able to benefit from the rights provided by this agreement.
The prisoner must have at least a nine month sentence to serve at the time of receipt of the request for transfer.
According to Article 14 of the agreement regulating “Pardon, Amnesty and Commutation,” each state may grant pardon, amnesty, commutation of the sentence or other types of discharge from punishment in accordance with its law or other regulations.
In the last six years in Uzbekistan, 17 amnesties have been declared for prisoners on national or religious holidays.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree for the pardon of “prisoners who regret their crimes and are on the way to recovery” on the occasion of Newroz in 2022.
According to the decree, 57 prisoners will be released as part of the amnesty and the sentences of 18 prisoners will be reduced.
Among the pardoned prisoners are nine members of terrorist organizations.
In 2017 an amnesty was declared in Uzbekistan on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the adoption of the constitution. A total of 39,748 people benefited from the general amnesty.
It has not been officially announced how many Uzbek citizens are currently in Turkish prisons. However, it is known that many Uzbeks were arrested in Turkey on charges of membership in ISIS. Turkish authorities repeatedly share conflicting statistics on the number of foreign prisoners affiliated with ISIS.
Wiretapped by the Turkish police, İlhami Balı, who was indicted on charges of masterminding bloody ISIS attacks in 2015, during a conversation with an ISIS member named Ebu Cemal on February 6, 2015, was talking about Uzbek fighters who were brought to Turkey and crossed the border into Syria.
Undoubtedly, the most notorious person in a Turkish prison is Abdulkadir Masharipov, an ISIS terrorist who carried out a bloody New Year’s Eve attack on an Istanbul nightclub in 2017, killing 39 people. In 2020
was handed down the equivalent of 40 life sentences, receiving an additional 1,368-year sentence. The court also ruled that he would not be eligible for parole. However, this may change if Masharipov is extradited to Uzbekistan according to the agreement signed between Uzbekistan and Turkey.
Nordic Monitor previously reported that Masharipov was asked to give evidence against Fethullah Gülen, a scholar and vocal critic of Erdoğan, in exchange for better prison conditions. He reportedly refused to do so.