New draft law grants immunity to Telecommunications Directorate personnel
According to a new draft law recently prepared by the government, Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) personnel will no longer be prosecutable for crimes related to their duties without permission from the TİB president and the minister of transportation, maritime affairs and communications.
According to a report published by the Taraf daily on Friday, a draft law prepared by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government will grant special immunity to TİB personnel. The draft reportedly states: “If TİB personnel commit a crime while performing their duty, a criminal investigation cannot be launched against them unless permission is requested from the TİB president and the minister of transportation, maritime affairs and communications. If these two people do not give permission, no criminal investigation can be launched against any TİB personnel.”
The government reportedly says it prepared the draft law to restrict wiretapping. However, the change will make personnel within the TİB, the body responsible for wiretapping, immune to prosecution.
This draft law came soon after National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official Ahmet Cemalettin Çelik was made the new head of TİB on Dec. 23 of last year amid a major corruption investigation in which the sons of three ministers, many bureaucrats and well-known businessmen were detained on charges pertaining to corruption and bribery on Dec. 17.
According to another section of the draft law, TİB will be given the authority to block access to specific websites without the need for a court order. According to current regulations, a website cannot be blocked unless a court order is obtained first. However, the regulation in the new draft law hands this authority to the TİB president.