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U.N. court orders Turkey to release imprisoned judge

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A United Nations court ordered Turkey to release Aydin Sefa Akay, a Turkish judge and diplomat caught up in the post-coup crackdown, so he could resume his place on the court's bench hearing a case against a Rwandan genocide suspect.

The U.N. Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals said in a ruling on Tuesday that as a U.N. judge, Akay enjoyed diplomatic immunity and his imprisonment violated judicial independence. The court ordered him released by Feb. 14.

The court, legal successor to the tribunals that tried crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars and the Rwandan genocide, had been due to hear pleadings by Augustin Ngirabatware, a Rwandan politician serving 30 years for inciting genocide. His lawyers say they have found exonerating evidence.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

 

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