AKP, MHP submit bill on protection of healthcare workers from violence

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on April 8 submitted a bill proposal to the parliament speaker’s office on the issue of measures against violence committed to healthcare workers.

The law proposal for an amendment to the basic law of health services aims to strengthen penalties for violence towards healthcare workers. Under the bill, penalties for threatening, insulting, injuring, or hindering healthcare workers from doing their duties would be increased by 50 percent. In the proposal, “postponement of the sentence,” is removed in these types of crimes against healthcare workers.

According to this proposal, the penalty for an attack on healthcare workers leading to injury will be between one-and-a-half years and four-and-a-half years, for threatening them will be between nine months and three years, for insulting them between four-and-a-half months and three years, and these penalties will not be postponed.

“The bill will be debated by the Justice Committee on Monday, but it might be incorporated into the penal reform bill being debated by the whole parliament,” AKP lawmaker Ramazan Can told Anadolu Agency.

If it is added to the penal reform bill, it could skip the committee, he added. He was referring to a proposal by the ruling party for amendments in the enforcement of sentences that are currently being debated in the parliament’s general assembly.

The lawmaker said that Turkey tried to take the best measures to stem the pandemic by highlighting the frontline fight of healthcare workers. “We’re in a national mobilization against the coronavirus. At such a time, the bill aims to dissuade people from the ill-treatment of healthcare workers,” Can said.

“We want to give moral motivation to our healthcare workers,” said Can. “You know, there were some heedless people who in the past targeted healthcare workers with violence. We want to prevent all violations of the rights of healthcare workers. With this measure, we clearly want to reinforce deterrence of violence towards healthcare workers.”

An earlier proposal submitted by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to parliament for the prevention of violence against healthcare workers was rejected by the AKP and MHP lawmakers on April 7. The proposal that the CHP envisages is adding a separate provision to the Turkish Penal Code. The CHP’s proposal also includes increasing the fines by a half more, not delaying the sentence and not converting the penalty into money.

The CHP’s proposal also regulates imprisonment from three to five years if pressure is placed on healthcare workers.

On April 7, AKP group deputy chair Bülent Turan said that the CHP’s proposal did not comply with the criminal system and that they prepared their own proposals in order not to extend the technical work.

Turkey’s “healthcare army” includes nearly half a million medical staffers and 360,000 support personnel fighting the coronavirus, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this week.

Hurriyet Daily News

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