UN rights chief slams Turkey's post-coup purge, warns Egypt over crackdown
Iran Press TV
Mon May 1, 2017 4:2PM
The UN rights chief has criticized Turkey's large-scale dismissal of officials and mass arrests of people in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, while warning Egypt about consequences of its heavy-handed crackdown on dissent.
"It is highly unlikely that the suspensions and detentions will have met due process standards," Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva on Monday.
The UN rights chief addressed the detention of Turkish media members, saying, "Journalism is not a crime in Turkey, it is an issue the government must pay deep attention to."
The remarks came two days after Turkey's Justice Ministry released a decree with the names of 3,975 dismissed officials, some 1,000 of whom formerly worked for the ministry and 1,000 others were employed by the army.
Some 100 pilots were among the sacked army personnel, while the names of about 500 state-employed academics were also included in the decree.
Turkey had earlier suspended over 9,000 members of the country's police force and sacked 1,000 for alleged links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric and opposition figure, whom Ankara blames for the failed coup. Gulen has strongly condemned the coup bid and has denied any involvement in it.
Over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the botched putsch against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, judges and teachers, have been suspended, dismissed or detained as part of the post-coup crackdown.
On November 24, 2016, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding motion with 479 votes in favor, 37 against and 107 abstentions, calling for "a temporary freeze of the ongoing accession negotiations with Turkey."
Egypt crackdown 'facilitates radicalization'
The UN rights chief also denounced the Egyptian government's heavy-handed crackdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners, warning that such measures would foster radicalization and extremism in the North African country.
"A state of emergency, the massive numbers of detentions, reports of torture, and continued arbitrary arrests - all of this we believe facilitates radicalization in prisons," Zeid said.
He added that national security must be a priority for every country, but "not at the expense of human rights."
On Sunday, the Cairo Criminal Court upheld a death sentence in absentia against Wagdi Ghoneim, a leader of the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement, on charges of establishing a "terror group," which allegedly incited violence against security forces.
On April 2, the court issued a preliminary death sentence against Turkey-based Ghoneim and announced that it was awaiting endorsement of the verdict by Egypt's Grand Mufti, Shawki Allam, who must review all death sentences according to the country's penal code.
The Egyptian government has been cracking down on opposition since the country's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup led by former army chief and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013.
Rights groups say the army's clampdown on Morsi's supporters has led to the deaths of over 1,400 people and the arrests of 22,000 others, including some 200 people, who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.
Following the coup, Cairo also labeled the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization" and Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of Brotherhood members to death, including Morsi himself. The Brotherhood, however, says it is a peaceful organization.
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