Türkiye: Leading Turkish human rights defender must be acquitted

A human rights defender facing more than seven years in prison for calling for an independent investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq must be acquitted, said Amnesty International today ahead of the resumption of her trial in Istanbul tomorrow.

Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı, President of the Union of Turkish Medical Associations, was arbitrarily placed in pre-trial detention in October and is facing trumped up charges of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

“Prosecuting a forensic expert for calling for an independent investigation into the alleged use of banned chemical weapons is a blatant abuse of the criminal justice system. Türkiye’s deeply repressive legal action is clearly designed to silence Professor Fincancı and send an ominous message to others,” said Amnesty International’s Senior Türkiye Campaigner, Milena Buyum.

“Rather than confecting groundless accusations against one of Türkiye’s foremost forensic physicians, the authorities should allow her to carry out her work freely and without fear of reprisals. Şebnem Korur Fincancı should be acquitted and immediately and unconditionally released.”

In December, Amnesty International joined DIGNITY, Human Rights Watch, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), REDRESS, and the World Medical Association to call on the Turkish authorities to release Professor Fincancı.