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Saudi Arabia: Flogging and Death Abolished as Ta‘zeer Penalties

(Aug. 3, 2020) On July 15, 2020, the director of the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia, Awwad bin Saleh, announced that the commission is planning to launch a number of initiatives to highlight the kingdom’s reforms in the field of human rights. Those reforms include abolishing flogging and capital punishment for minors as ta‘zeer […]

Italy: New Law Including Measures on Home Detention or Postponement of Penalties due to COVID-19 Enters into Force

(July 27, 2020) On June 30, 2020, a new law containing a provision on the adjustment of penal sentences because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other miscellaneous provisions entered into force in Italy. (Law No. 70 of June 25, 2020, amending Decree Law No. 28 of April 30, 2020 (D.L. No. 28).) Measures on Home […]

Italy: Supreme Court of Cassation Issues Decision on Rights of Detained Persons

(June 26, 2020) On May 22, 2020, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) issued a decision declaring unconstitutional a provision imposing a radical ban on communication between incarcerated persons who, in accordance with Law No. 94 of July 15, 2009 and article 4-bis of Law No. 354 of July 26, 1975, are grouped together […]

Italy: Decree-Law Institutes Alternative Penitentiary Measures to Combat Covid-19 Pandemic

(June 10, 2020) On May 11, 2020, Decree-Law No. 29 (D. L. No. 29), which had been issued the previous day by the president of Italy to institute new penitentiary measures aimed at reducing COVID-19 infections in prisons, took effect in the country. Measures on Home Detention and Postponement of Sentencing Under the new decree-law, […]

Philippines: Supreme Court Holds First Virtual Session, Addresses Petition to Free Certain Prisoners due to COVID-19

(Apr. 30, 2020) On April 17, 2020, the Philippine Supreme Court held a virtual en banc session for the first time in its history in order to address an urgent petition requesting the release of elderly and sick inmates because of the risk they face in prison due to COVID-19, a government press release said. […]

Turkey: New Parole Measure Expected to Significantly Lower Prison Population

(Apr. 28, 2020) On April 14, 2020, the Parliament of Turkey passed Law No. 7242 amending Law No. 5275 on the Execution of Penal and Security Measures. The amendments include both provisions that are aimed at lowering the prison population generally and, in response to COVID-19, a temporary release provision for convicts that are serving […]

Mexico: President Signs Law Granting Amnesty to Criminals Incarcerated for Certain Crimes

(Apr. 24, 2020) On April 22, 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed into law a bill passed by Mexico’s Senate two days earlier granting amnesty to persons incarcerated for the commission of certain crimes provided that applicable requirements are met. These crimes include the possession of narcotics in small quantities under a number […]

Mexico: President Urges Approval of Amnesty Law Because of Coronavirus Infection Risk in Prisons

(Apr. 24, 2020) On April 15, 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador urged Mexico’s Senate to pass the Amnesty Law to prevent the massive spread of the coronavirus in the country’s 17 federal and 292 state penitentiaries. The purpose of the law is to provide early release for people who have been imprisoned for […]

Mexico: OAS International Forum on Prisons Spurs Mexican Reform Bills

(Mar. 12, 2020) On February 6, 2020, the Organization of American States (OAS) released a statement summarizing the results of a Meeting of Officials Responsible for the Penitentiary and Prison Policies of the Americas, an OAS working group tasked with the formulation of measures aimed at improving prison systems. Mexico attended the meeting, along with […]

New Zealand: Bill to Restore Voting Rights for Some Prisoners Introduced

(Mar. 6, 2020) On February 25, 2020, the New Zealand government introduced the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill in the Parliament. The bill amends the Electoral Act 1993 to enable people sentenced to terms of imprisonment of less than three years to vote in the country’s general elections. This would reinstate the rule […]