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Turkey convicts UN judge of 'armed terror group' membership

15 June 2017

In a statement on Thursday, the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) condemned Turkey for sentencing Aydin Sefa Akay, a retired ambassador and a top judge at the MICT, to seven years in jail on charges of links to a movement led by an opposition cleric, whom Ankara blames for last year's failed coup. Ankara blames Gulen for masterminding the July 2016 military putsch attempt in Turkey, but the cleric, who now lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, has repeatedly denied the accusations.

MICT President Theodor Meron said that Akay's arrest, "detention, and legal proceedings against him are inconsistent with the assertion of his diplomatic immunity by the United Nations, as well as the binding judicial order (to release him that the MICT). issued in January 2017".

His arrest in September a year ago, his detention and a legal case against him "are inconsistent with the assertion of his diplomatic immunity by the United Nations", the MICT said.

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The U.N. court said in a statement that Turkey's actions constituted a "further breach of Judge Akay's protected status", as U.N. judges have diplomatic immunity under worldwide law.

In March Meron reported Turkey to the UN Security Council over the matter.

He called on Ankara to "take urgent steps to respect the protected status of Judge Akay and to resolve the situation consistent with worldwide law".

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Akay, a retired ambassador and a sitting judge at the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, was accused of links to US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

He had vehemently denied the charges, which had caused an uproar among the worldwide legal community.

In his initial testimony, Akay admitted to installing Bylock but claimed that he had not used any password to access the system, local media reported.

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He was released pending the ruling from the supreme appeals court - the Yargitay - a date for which has not been set. Gulen denies any involvement in the botched coup. The court placed an global travel ban on Akay, meaning he will not be able to resume his work at MICT.

Turkey convicts UN judge of 'armed terror group' membership