Murat Arslan, the last chairman of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) was named as the winner of the 2017 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe (CoE) on Monday.
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 fifth Václav Havel Human Rights Prize – which honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights – has been awarded to Turkish supporter of the independence of the judiciary Murat Arslan,” Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in a statement on Monday.
“As Mr Arslan is detained, a representative of MEDEL, one of the organisations which nominated him, receives the #HavelPrize on his behalf…” PACE’s Twitter account said.
Arslan was among the three finalists along with Budapest-based Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Father Georg Sporschill from Austria are the other two finalists.
“The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, to reward outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights in Europe and beyond. Nominations of any individual, non-governmental organisation or institution working to defend human rights are taken into consideration. The Prize consists of a sum of € 60 000, a trophy and a diploma,” PACE’s statement added.