First Published: 2017-03-15

Turkey puts UN judge on trial for 'coup links'
Turkey putsAydin Sefa Akay, top judge attached to UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, on trial for links to group blamed for failed coup.
Middle East Online

Turkey's crackdown on alleged Gulen supporters has been relentless

ANKARA - Turkey Wednesday put on trial a top UN court judge on charges of links to the group blamed for the failed July 15 coup, in a case that has caused anger and held up legal proceedings over the Rwanda genocide.

Aydin Sefa Akay, a top judge attached to the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), was detained in September at the family home and had been held in detention since.

He is charged with "membership of a terror group" over alleged links to the organisation of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher blamed by Ankara for the July 15 coup bid.

Specifically, he stands accused by the Turkish authorities of downloading and using a messaging app called ByLock which Ankara says was used by the plotters to prepare the coup.

Akay and his lawyers took part in the first hearing at the Ankara criminal court, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

If found guilty, he faces up to 15 years in jail.

In his statement, Akay denied the charges, saying he was not a member of Gulen's group. "I am not one of them," he said.

According to Anadolu, he admitted downloading Bylock but said he had not used any password to access the system.

His lawyers called for his release, arguing Akay should enjoy immunity due to his status. But the court ordered he be kept under arrest, setting the next hearing for April 13.

Akay had been working with the UN international court trying suspects over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and his detention has paralysed proceedings into an appeal hearing of former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware.

The UN court has already said Turkey has failed to comply with its obligations and said it would report Ankara to the UN Security Council.

Presiding judge Theodore Meron has insisted that Akay, a former diplomat who was nominated to the bench by Ankara, has diplomatic immunity and has repeatedly voiced concern over the conditions of his detention.

Under a state of emergency imposed after the coup, Turkey has embarked on a relentless crackdown against alleged supporters of Gulen, arresting some 43,000 people.

 

Libya to investigate 'slave auction' footage

Iraq top court declares Kurd referendum unconstitutional

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

15 women killed in food aid crush in Morocco

Rare moments of joy at Arabs’ unprecedented World Cup qualifications

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues

Lebanon FM will not attend Arab League Iran summit

Syrian forces liberate Albu Kamal from IS

Israel votes to shut migrant centre, deport Africans

Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey discuss Syria

Libya to investigate ‘slave auction’ footage

Piece by piece, Iran moves towards a ‘new empire’

Netanyahu faces new questioning over corruption case

Syria troops, allies retake most of Albu Kamal from IS

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Paris

Egypt opens Gaza border for first time since unity deal

US-Russia rift threatens fragile prospects for Syria peace

'Caliphate' in tatters but IS still a threat

Saudi Arabia recalls ambassador to Berlin over Gabriel Lebanon comments

Russia again vetoes renewal of Syria gas attacks probe

UN weighs bid to save Syria gas attacks probe

IS attack kills 26 displaced people in Syria

Saudi FM says Lebanon 'held hostage by Hezbollah'

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days

Turkish troops pulled from NATO drill amid new tensions

Six children among civilians killed in shelling of Eastern Ghouta

US official calls on Sudan to stop 'church demolitions'

Hariri set to leave Saudi Arabia for France

Fears of bombs, IS cells still haunt Mosul

Iraq retakes Rawa, last town held by IS

Riyadh striking deals with people detained in anti-graft purge

Iran criticises French Mideast policy

Russia again blocks UN resolution on Syria action

Israel military chief says ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia

Egypt confirms death of wanted jihadist

UK denies link between citizen detained in Iran and £400m debt