Council of Europe advisory body concerned about suspension, arrest of two Turkish judges
ISTANBULAn advisory body of the Council of Europe (CoE) has expressed grave concerns about the suspension and arrest of two Turkish judges allegedly linked to the Gülen movement, in a statement issued after letters were sent to it by the two judges and complaints were sent by others.
The Bureau of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE), the advisory body to the CoE on issues related to the independence, impartiality and competence of judges, said it was unacceptable for a judge’s decision to be refused to be executed.
“Refusal to execute an otherwise executable judicial release order, therefore, would clearly amount to an obstruction of the course of justice and is absolutely unacceptable,” the statement read.
32nd Criminal Court of First Instance Judge Mustafa Başer and 29th Criminal Court of First Instance Judge Metin Özçelik were suspended from their duties by the 2nd Chamber of the Supreme Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSYK) on April 27 after ordering the release of 76 suspects, including Samanyolu Media Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca. They were arrested four days later.
The legal battle over the fate of 76 suspects, who are charged with being a member of “the parallel state,” a group allegedly linked to the Gülen movement that took key posts in the judiciary and police, started in Istanbul’s Silivri prison on April 24. The 29th Criminal Court of First Instance forwarded the case to the 32th Criminal Court of First Instance, which ordered their release on April 25.
The 10th Penal Magistracy of Peace, however, canceled the release late April 25, citing a memo from the Chief Prosecutor’s Office which argued that the court order was unlawful.
The CCJE said a judge’s decision-making process must not be obstructed and once decisions are handed down, they should only be subject to review on appeal.
“Obstructing a judge’s work by refusing to permit his draft to be put in writing (or by ordering the clerk to refuse to do so) would be absolutely unacceptable,” the statement said.
The bureau of the CCJE also emphasized that was not in a position to weigh or evaluate conflicting allegations in relation to the present complaints.
“The bureau cannot judge or appraise the facts on which the investigations against the two judges concerned have relied,” it stated.