Persecution in Türkiye | Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı

Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a globally renowned forensic physician, is president of Türkiye’s largest human rights organization and has spent much of her career fighting torture and ill-treatment in Türkiye and worldwide. A long-time partner of PHR, Dr. Fincancı, alongside anti-torture experts from around the world, collaborated with PHR in the creation of the Istanbul Protocol, considered the international standard for forensic investigations of torture.

On October 26, 2022, Dr. Fincancı was detained during an early morning house raid upon orders from Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor under Turkish Criminal Code Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (propaganda for a terrorist organisation) and Article 301/2 (degrading the military or security services of the State) due to a statement she made to a news channel. The Public Prosecutor’s office also requested her dismissal as the chair of the Turkish Medical Association and the election of a new president. Since her arrest, leading international human rights and medical NGOs condemn the arbitrary arrest and have demanded her immediate release. On January 11, 2023, Dr. Fincancı was sentenced to two years, eight months and 15 days of imprisonment on baseless charges of “making terrorist propaganda.” Dr. Fincancı was released pending the appeal. 

“I promised myself to never be afraid of revealing the truth.”

Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı

About Dr. Fincancı

Şebnem Korur Fincancı, MD is one of Türkiye’s leading human rights activists and an internationally-recognized forensic expert. President of the Human Rights Foundation of Türkiye, Türkiye’s largest human rights organization (together with the Human Rights Association as the founding organization), Dr. Fincancı is one of the authors of the Istanbul Protocol, the international standard for forensic investigation and documentation of torture. She was the head of Istanbul University’s forensic medical department until she was forced from the position because of her support for human rights and academic freedom. She is one of the founders of the Turkish Penal Code association. Read more here.

In June 2016, Dr. Fincancı, author Ahmet Nesin, and Erol Önderoğlu of Reporters Without Borders were arrested, briefly imprisoned, and charged with disseminating “terrorist propaganda” after taking part in a solidarity campaign with a Kurdish newspaper critical of Türkiye’s government.

PHR has a long history of advocating for Turkish doctors persecuted and wrongfully imprisoned by their government. We galvanized and led a global campaign on behalf of Dr. Fincancı, attending her hearings in November 2016, advocating for her and her co-defendants’ release, and standing in solidarity with the thousands of other human rights defenders and activists currently being persecuted by the Turkish government. On July 17, 2019, a Turkish court acquitted Dr. Fincancı on charges of terrorism.

PHR honored Dr. Fincancı at our 2017 gala in New York City for her leadership in fighting torture and impunity in Türkiye and around the world.

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