Turkish UN judge arrested over suspected coup links

Turkish UN judge arrested over suspected coup links
2 min read
10 November, 2016
The arrest of Judge Aydin Sedaf Akay over alleged links to suspected Turkey coup plotter Fethullah Gulen could be the first time a UN judge's immunity has been violated
The top UN judge is the latest arrest in Erdogan's clampdown [AFP]
A Turkish judge on the UN court has been arrested in connection with July's attempted coup - thought to be the first time a UN judge's diplomatic immunity has been violated.

Turkey has ignored requests to release Judge Aydin Sedaf Akay, who was detained on September 21.

His arrest, while he was trying crimes from the Rwandan genocide, risks violating his judicial independence, court president Theodor Meron told the UN General Assembly.

"The UN Office of Legal Affairs has requested his release from detention and the cessation of all legal proceedings against him," Meron said.

At the time of his arrest, Akay was due to hear an appeal in the case against Augustin Ngirabatware, a Rwandan politician who was sentenced in 2012 to 35 years in prison for genocide.

"As a result of his detention, the proceedings have come to a standstill," Meron said.

Turkish authorities have arrested tens of thousands of people, including teachers, public officials and journalists, since the failed coup, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed on supporters of the controversial US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Critics have accused Erdogan of using the purge to rid himself of opponents and say many with no links to the coup bid or Gulen's movement have been caught up in the clampdown.

Akay, a former diplomat, was appointed a judge on the tribunal trying perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide in 2009 and later became a judge on the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), its successor.

In congratulating new US president-elect Donald Trump, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reiterated a request for US authorities to extradite Gulen.

Gulen denies the accusations.