MEDEL presents Judge Arslan as nominee for Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize

Judge Murat Arslan, imprisoned YARSAV President.

Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL) has presented before the Council of Europe (CoE) the application of Judge Murat Arslan, the President of the Executive Board of the Association of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV) for the 2017 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize.

Defining YARSAV as the most representative Turkish Judges Association is a member of the organization, MEDEL said that Judge Arslan has been the position since 2006 (he was currently in his third mandate).

“During his mandates, Murat Arslan has had a fearless and courageous intervention in Turkish society, denouncing all the abuses that were increasingly being made by the Executive and Legislative Powers against the rights of citizens and the independence of the Judicial Power,” said MEDEL in a written statement on its website and continued that “His constant intervention in social media, newspapers and institutional forums was never stopped by the growing menaces that the Turkish government was directing to all those who defied the hegemonic power of President Erdoğan, that was threatening Turkish society.”

Reminding that YARSAV was administratively disbanded and Murat Arslan was dismissed, as well as thousands of other judges and prosecutors after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, eventually he was arrested in Oct. 2016, MEDEL stated that “Murat Arslan is now more than an individual person fighting for a democratic Turkey, in which human rights are promoted. He has become a symbol of all those that do not surrender and, even risking their own lives, fight for human rights and still believe that Turkish citizens have the right to live free and in a democratic state. A state that respects individual freedoms and guarantees free and equal access to an independent justice system that can enforce those basic human rights.”

The Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize created in 2013, aims to reward outstanding civil society action in defending human rights in Europe and beyond.

YARSAV President Arslan was among 3,089 judges and prosecutors who have been kept behind the bars for months in Turkey. Currently, 4,317 Turkish judges and prosecutors were dismissed. Namely, 24,4 percent of all judges (2538 out of 10382) and 24,3 percent of all prosecutors (1121 out of 4622) were dismissed in Turkey and the majority of them are in jail since July 15, 2016.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has announced on April 2 that  2,575 judges and prosecutors have been jailed during post-coup witch hunt against alleged members of Gülen movement. However, the independent sources say 3,089 judges and prosecutors are currently kept in Turkish prisons.

May 2, 2017

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