UN legal body reports Turkey to Security Council

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A United Nations legal institution will report Turkey to the Security Council for failing to release an international judge who is among thousands of people detained in the aftermath of last year's failed coup, according to a ruling issued Monday.

In January, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, gave Turkey until Feb. 14 to free Turkish citizen Aydin Sefa Akay and halt legal proceedings against him, saying he is protected by diplomatic immunity.

Judge Theodor Meron said in a written ruling that Turkey has not yet complied with the order and will now be reported to the Security Council.

It is unclear what action, if any, the Security Council will take.

The mechanism deals with appeals and other legal matters left by the U.N.'s tribunals relating to Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

Among its cases is that of Augustin Ngirabatware, a former Rwandan minister of planning who was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment by the Rwanda Tribunal for incitement to commit genocide and instigating and aiding and abetting genocide. Ngirabatware requested a review of his sentence last year based on new evidence he claims will exonerate him.

Akay is one of the judges assigned to review the case. Ngirabatware sought temporary release while his case is on ice due to Akay's detention, but his request was rejected.

Turkey's "non-compliance materially impedes the Appeals Chamber's consideration of the merits of this case and threatens the independence of the Mechanism's judiciary," Meron wrote.

Akay was detained last year by Turkish authorities in the aftermath of the country's failed July 15 coup attempt. Ankara has launched a sweeping purge of perceived followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denies the government's claim he masterminded the coup attempt.

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