Germany-based Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL) has nominated Murat Arslan, the last chairman of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) for the 2017 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize.

Under arrest since Oct 26, 2016 over his alleged links to the Gulen movement, Arslan acted as the chair of YARSAV until it was shut down as part of the post-coup crackdown on July 23, 2016.

The government accuses the movement of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt.

“During his mandates, Murat Arslan has had a fearless and courageous intervention in Turkish society, denouncing all the abuses that were increasingly being made by the Executive and Legislative Powers against the rights of citizens and the independence of the Judicial Power. His constant intervention in social media, newspapers and institutional forums was never stopped by the growing menaces that the Turkish Government was directing to all those who defied the hegemonic power of President Erdogan, that was threatening Turkish society,” a statement by MEDEL said on Apr 28, 2017.

“Murat Arslan is now more than an individual person fighting for a democratic Turkey, in which Human Rights are promoted. He has become a symbol of all those that do not surrender and, even risking their own lives, fight for Human Rights and still believe that Turkish citizens have the right to live free and in a democratic State,” the statement further stated.

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