International human rights groups call for the release of Dr. Fincanci

International human rights groups call for the release of Dr. Fincanci
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Groups including Amnesty International, HRW and PHR called on Turkish authorities to release Dr. Fincanci a day before the hearing in an Istanbul court.

International human rights groups called on Thursday for the release of Sebnem Korur Fincanci, chairwoman of the Turkish Medical Association who has been jailed over "terror" charges in Turkey for nearly two months.

Dr. Fincanci, an internationally acclaimed medical 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.

A day before her hearing in a Turkish court, human rights groups including Amnesty International, DIGNITY, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture (IRCT), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), REDRESS, and the World Medical Association published a statement calling for her release.

“At tomorrow's hearing the Turkish court can right an outrageous wrong, not only for Sebnem Korur Fincanci but for human rights advocates everywhere," said Erika Dailey, a representative of PHR. "Sebnem Korur Fincanci, an acclaimed forensic physician, has dedicated much of her life to fighting torture and ill-treatment in Turkey and around the world. We now call for a fair hearing that leads to dropping these spurious charges and her immediate and unconditional release."

Lisa Henry, Secretary General at IRCT, said:

"Sebnem Korur Financi's arbitrary detention is part of a deliberate strategy put in place by the government to discredit her long-standing work in investigating grave human rights violations as a forensic expert and a human rights defender in Turkey and around the world. The authorities' reaction and her arrest constitute a blatant violation of her freedom of expression and testify once more of the ongoing crackdown on human rights in the country."

Prof. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chair of Council of the World Medical Association, said, "Her work should be lauded, not punished."

The hearing, which will take place at 09:30 AM local time on Friday before the İstanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court, will be attended by international trial monitors, including from the International Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture and PHR.

The prosecution asks for the punishment of Dr. Fincanci with a prison term of up to 7 years 6 months for "terrorism propaganda."