UN demands Turkey release international judge News
UN demands Turkey release international judge

[JURIST] The president of the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Theodor Meron [official websites], demanded [speech, PDF] the release of Turkish judge Aydin Sefa Akay in an address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. The General Assembly [official website] had elected Akay as a judge to the MICT in 2011. Turkish officials detained [DW report] Akay in September after a failed coup against the Turkish government. Turkey’s actions violated the diplomatic immunity of international judges, said Meron. In his address, Meron called for “Judge Akay’s immediate release from detention and the cessation of all legal proceedings against him.”

The aftermath of the failed coup attempt continues as Turkish President Recep Erdoğan vowed [JURIST report] that those involved in the coup would “pay a heavy price.” In September Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that approximately 32,000 people had been arrested [JURIST report] in relation to the recent coup attempt, and 70,000 have been questioned. In late October Turkey’s government dismissed [JURIST report] 10,000 additional civil servants and closed 15 more media outlets for their supposed connection with US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey has accused of orchestrating the attempted coup in July. That same week, officials in Turkey detained [JURIST report] and searched the homes of 13 reporters alleging that, during the failed coup attempt in Turkey, they published stories seeking to “legitimize” those participating in the coup. On Saturday, the Turkish government arrested [JURIST report] eight pro-Kurdish political party members.