Murat Arslan, the last chairman of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) was shortlisted along with two other candidates to the 2017 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe (CoE).
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 while the latter denies involvement.
“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 candidatures in Prague,” read a statement on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) website on Aug 29.
Budhapest-based Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Father Georg Sporschill from Austria are the other two finalists.
The winner of the prize, which rewards individuals or organisations judged to have undertaken outstanding action in defence of human rights, is due to be announced at the opening of the autumn plenary session of PACE in Strasbourg on 9 October 2017, the statement added.
“The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, created in 2013, is awarded each year by the PACE, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, and 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.”