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YARSAV’s jailed Arslan on shortlist for Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

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Murat Arslan, president of the now dissolved Association for the Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV), has been placed on the shortlist of candidates for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) reported in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017, comprising independent figures known for their expertise in the field of human rights, today drew up the shortlist of candidates in Prague.

Arslan, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Father Georg Sporschill (Austria) were selected as the three final candidates for the prize.

“The nominee, in detention since 2016, is a well-known and reputed judge. President of the now dissolved Association for the Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV), he has always been a supporter of the independence of the judiciary,” said the PACE statement.
Arslan, who was detained in Ankara on Oct. 19 as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, was referred to a court by the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office and was arrested on Oct. 26, 2016.

Arslan was dismissed from his post at the Court of Accounts in July, 2016 as a result of the probe into the movement.

“I will continue to say ‘Justice for all.’ One day, the rule of law will come to this country,” said Arslan when the prosecutor referred him to court for arrest.

YARSAV was among the thousands of institutions closed down by the government in the first decree issued in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Arslan was presented as a candidate for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize by the European-based organization Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL) in May.

The winner of the prize, which rewards individuals or organizations judged to have undertaken outstanding action in defense of human rights, is due to be announced at the opening of the autumn plenary session of PACE in Strasbourg on Oct. 9, 2017.

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, created in 2013, is awarded each year by PACE, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, with the support of the Czech government. The prize consists of a sum of €60 000, a trophy and a diploma. The 2016 Prize went to Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad.

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