“My medical opinion has been criminalized”
Medical forensics expert and a prominent human rights defender Sebnem Korur Fincanci appeared before court on Friday in Istanbul for “disseminating terrorism propaganda" as a large crowd of people gathered outside to call for her release.
Dr. Fincanci was arrested in October over her remarks concerning allegations of Turkey’s chemical warfare in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) over her assessment of a video allegedly showing a victim of chemical warfare. Fincanci said in an online interview that "Obviously, one of the toxic chemical gasses was used that directly affects the nervous system." She also said that allegations should be investigated by independent missions.
Fincanci was brought to an overcrowded courthouse room handcuffed and surrounded by eight military police.
"What I made after seeing the videos was an early diagnosis. An independent investigation has to be carried out in order to reach a diagnosis. This is stated in international guides," Fincanci said in her defense from a place where she said she could not see the court panel. “You do not need to see,” responded a judge.
“My medical opinion has been criminalized,” Fincanci continued. “When allegations of a criminal activity come up, an effort to hide that crime also appears. (...) There were some symptoms in the video. One of those affected was foaming at the mouth. I mentioned a need for research. It can be seen that I was exercising my scientific rights and freedom of expression,” she said.
After her speech, the report on the examination of digital data and social media accounts was added to the file.
Meanwhile a request by the ministry of defense to intervene in the trial was rejected by the court because “the ministry does not appear to have been harmed by the crime.”