In yet another public rebuke of Turkey’s politicized court system, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions has issued a report on the detainees in the alleged Sledgehammer coup trial.
The working group report states that the government failed to address multiple allegations of due process violations and violations of the defendants’ right to fair trial. The group noted that the government refused “to consider three expert reports refuting the authenticity of digital evidence” and “refused to allow the defense to call two key witnesses.” The government also refused to allow the defendants access to all the evidence and did not rebut allegations that it had placed microphones throughout the courtroom which prevented accused from communicating with their defense counsel in private.
In conclusion the working group concluded that “deprivation of liberty of the 250 detained defendants in the Balyoz or Sledgehammer cases is arbitrary, in contravention of articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as articles 9, 10, and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Few dispute that assertion of civilian control over the military in Turkey is a healthy thing. The question is what kind of Turkey can exist when the courts are politicized and “justice” is a tool of the victors as they take their vengeance on political enemies, of the left and right.
St. Lawrence University