For Immediate Release
A Turkish court today postponed criminal proceedings against Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and a longtime partner and colleague of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Earlier this year, Dr. Fincancı and her co-defendants were accused of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” for taking part in a solidarity campaign with a newspaper critical of Turkey’s government. Her case will resume January 11, 2017.
In support of Dr. Fincancı and her co-defendants, PHR Executive Director Donna McKay joined a contingent of human rights defenders from around the world to witness today’s hearing and take part in a joint press conference demanding that Turkey drop all charges against Dr. Fincancı, co-defendants Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin, and other human rights defenders.
The following is attributable to PHR’s McKay:
“Today, I stood in a courtroom and watched PHR’s friend and colleague, Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the leader of one of Turkey’s premier human rights organizations, stand accused of trumped-up terror-related charges for defending freedom of expression. Instead of throwing out these ludicrous charges, the three-judge panel postponed her case until January. PHR continues to demand the charges against her and her colleagues be dropped immediately.
“Health professionals like Dr. Fincancı – along with journalists, lawyers, and others who are currently being persecuted in Turkey – are on the front lines of investigating and exposing human rights violations in the midst of continued unrest in Turkey. Attempting to punish those human rights defenders isn’t just a blow against them personally, it’s an attack against human rights globally.
“Turkey – once seen as making great strides as a democracy – is now on a terrifying backslide. Today, I stood in that courtroom with Turkish and international activists to show that we in the global human rights community are watching the Turkish government. We stood in that courtroom to show solidarity with Dr. Fincancı and her co-defendants – and to underscore that injustice anywhere is a threat to all of us.
“Turkey’s leaders are failing their own people by punishing human rights defenders. But the global community, by ignoring Turkey’s campaign of intimidation, is failing the Turkish people as well. We will stand by Dr. Fincancı’s side – and beside all those who believe in human rights – until those rights are no longer under threat.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.