Demand to release UN court judge void: Turkey tells UN

Demand to release UN court judge void: Turkey tells UN

Demand to release UN court judge void: Turkey tells UN The demand to release a top United Nations court judge is “void,” Turkish authorities said in a letter addressed to the United Nations Security Council. 

Turkish authorities said the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) request for the release of Aydın Sefa Akay, a top judge at the U.N.’s Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), surpasses its limits of authority “by interfering into the independent judiciary of Turkey.”

Akay was detained in September 2016, at his family home and has been held in detention since.

He is charged with “membership of a terror group” over alleged links to the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, which is widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.

In the letter, Turkey’s permanent representative to the U.N., Feridun Sinirlioğlu, said Turkey is a country that values the rule of law and its international commitments, while adding that Akay was arrested over being a suspected member of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). 

Saying that the charges against Akay are not related to his duty in the ICC, Sinirlioğlu noted that his activities outside of that duty cannot be handled in the framework of immunity, thus Akay can be tried in Turkey over “the crimes he committed in the country.”

Sinirlioğlu added that Turkey will not fulfill the demands of a mechanism that “abuses its authorities” and that the ICC “intervened into Turkish law openly and worryingly.” 

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