Murat Arslan, President of the now dissolved Association for the Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV) has been shortlisted for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize 2017 by the selection panel comprised of independent figures known for their expertise in the field of human rights. Arslan was detained on October 19, 2016 as part of the witch hunt run by the government against the non-loyal jurists in the wake of the failed coup attempt. After seven days in detention he was arrested on 26 October, 2016.

“Murat Arslan is a well-known and reputed judge. He has always been a supporter of the independence of the judiciary” the selection committee said.

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 two other shortlisted nominees are Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a non-governmental human rights organisation based in Budapest, and Father Georg Sporschill, a Jesuit from Austria.

The winner of the prize is due to be announced at the opening of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on 9 October 2017.

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 to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond. 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.

The Prize is awarded in memory of Václav Havel, playwright, opponent of totalitarianism, architect of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic and an enduring symbol of opposition to despotism.

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