UN court orders Turkey to release imprisoned judge

Wants Aydin Sefa Akay to resume his place on the bench hearing a case against a Rwandan genocide suspect. Turkey arrested Akay after last year's attempt coup.

Photo by: United Nations
Photo by: United Nations

The court had been due to hear pleadings by Augustin Ngirabatware, a Rwandan politician serving 30 years for inciting genocide.

A United Nations court on Tuesday ordered Turkey to release Aydin Sefa Akay, a Turkish judge and diplomat caught up in the crackdown following the failed July 15, 2016 coup. The court said his release was needed so Akay could resume his place on the court's bench hearing a case against a Rwandan genocide suspect.

The UN Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals said in a ruling that as a UN judge, Akay enjoyed diplomatic immunity and his imprisonment violated judicial independence. The court ordered Akay be released by February 14.

Turkey did not attend a hearing in The Hague on Monday about Akay's situation and declined to make submissions on his detention.

The Turkish government detained Akay in September last year for alleged links to the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation, which Ankara accuses of masterminding the attempted putsch.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah reports.

TRTWorld and agencies