Turkish Medical Association Chair remanded in custody

Turkish Medical Association Chair remanded in custody
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A Turkish court decided to remand in custody Dr. Fincanci, who was arrested in October on accusations over her remarks about chemical warfare allegations.

Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci, the chairwoman of the Turkish Medical Association, was remanded in custody on Friday by the decision of an Istanbul court in the first hearing of a case in which she is accused of "terrorism propaganda."

Dr. Fincanci, an internationally acclaimed forensics expert and a prominent human rights defender, was detained on 26 October in a police raid on her house, and subsequently arrested over her remarks concerning allegations of Turkey's chemical warfare in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

After watching a video allegedly showing a victim of chemical warfare, Fincanci had told a Brussels-based TV: "Obviously, one of the toxic chemical gases was used that directly affects the nervous system." She also said that allegations should be investigated by independent missions.

Deputies for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the socialist Labor Party of Turkey (TIP), chairs of the bar associations of Istanbul and Izmir, representatives of the EU Delegation in Turkey, consulate generals of France, Germany and the Netherlands, officials of the US and British consulates, and representatives of human rights groups attended the hearing session before the Istanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court.

Ozturk Turkdogan, co-chair of Turkey's Human Rights Association (IHD), said the case against Fincanci is likely to constitute another violation of the European Convention on Human Rights after the cases against Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas and human rights defender Osman Kavala, who are denied release despite decisions by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Turkdogan told bianet:

"There is a clear violation of article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The political administration pressures the courts. The statements earlier made have pressured the panel of judges. Normally such a lawsuit would not even be filed (...) This will be another violation of article 18 after the cases against Selahattin Demirtas and Osman Kavala. The chair of a professional association had not been arrested even after the 12 September [1980] military coup d'etat."