Turkey: Jailing of leading human rights expert on ‘terror’ charges an ‘appalling abuse of power’

Reacting to news that Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı, President of the Union of Turkish Medical Associations, has been arbitrarily placed in pre-trial detention on accusations of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” after she called for an independent investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Esther Major, Amnesty International’s Senior Research Advisor for Europe, said:

“Jailing this leading human rights defender simply for calling for an independent investigation into the alleged use of banned weapons is an appalling abuse of power. Arbitrarily imprisoning Şebnem Korur Fincancı has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with silencing her and sending a chilling message to others.

“Detaining Prof Fincancı contradicts Turkey’s obligations to protect human rights defenders in the course of their vital work. Instead of harassing and persecuting her, the Turkish authorities should instead take steps to ensure she can conduct her work free from fear and intimidation.

“Şebnem Korur Fincancı must be immediately and unconditionally released, and all charges against her must be urgently dropped.”