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UN court refers Turkey to Security Council over detained judge

[JURIST] The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) referred Turkey to the UN Security Council [official websites] on Monday for failing to release [press release] one of its judges. Turkey has detained Judge Aydin Sefa Akay [official profile] on suspicion of being involved in last July's failed coup [BBC report]. In a public ruling the court's president condemned [Reuters report] Turkey's actions. "Turkey's non-compliance materially impedes the Appeal's Chamber's considertion of the merits of this case and threatens the independence of the Mechanism's judiciary." Akay was one of 40,000 people accused of being part of the failed coup against the current government.

Since the failed coup in Turkey in July, where Turkish military forces tried to overthrow the government, the Turkish government has taken several controversial steps to strengthen its power. Earlier in March around 330 individuals were put on trial [JURIST report] for alleged involvement int he attempted coup. In January the Turkish Parliament approved a plan [JURIST report], which, if approved by vote later this year, would increase presidential power within the country and would allow President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan to stay in office until 2029. In November Turkey significantly restricted the activities of NGOs like human rights organizations and children's groups and arrested opposition party leaders [JURIST report] alleging they were connected to terror organizations. In October Human Rights Watch warned [JURIST report] that the emergency decrees put in place after the failed coup, had resulted in serious human rights violations.

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