Europe Court Condemns Turkey over Post-Coup Arrests of Judges

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The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ruled that Turkey had acted unlawfully by arresting over 400 judges and prosecutors after a failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Responding to a complaint brought by 427 members of the Turkish judiciary who were arrested after the failed putsch, the court said their detentions were marked by “unlawfulness” and ordered Ankara to pay damages to each applicant.

They had been arrested as part of a mass crackdown on supporters of the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan who the president blamed for the coup bid.

The ruling is the latest by the Strasbourg-based ECHR against Turkey, a member of the Council of Europe of which the court is a part since 1950.

It said the detentions had violated the European Convention on Human Rights, which the court enforces, “on account of the unlawfulness of the initial pre-trial detention of the applicants”.

The court has previously in separate rulings ordered Turkey to free jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas and civil society leader Osman Kavala who were arrested in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The Council of Europe’s committee of ministers has said Turkey’s defiance of the ECHR ruling on Kavala could lead it to open infringement proceedings against Ankara at its next meeting beginning later this month, a procedure that as only been used once before in the history of the court.


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