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PHR Letter to Turkish President Demands Charges Be Dropped Against Physician Human Rights Defenders

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing grave concern about the sentencing on December 19 of Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a world-renowned forensic medical expert and president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, to two years and six months in prison for signing a peace petition in 2016 with other respected Turkish academics.

Fincancı, who is also the former head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Istanbul University’s Medical Faculty and a former member of the Istanbul Chamber of Medicine Honorary Committee, joined with others as a group known as “Academics for Peace” to sign the document entitled “We will not be party to this crime,” which called for a peaceful solution to conflict in southeast Turkey between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party and Turkish security forces.

The letter, authored by PHR’s executive director, Donna McKay, reads, in part: “Dr. Fincancı, a globally-known human rights defender and the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, is one of the world’s leaders in the documentation of torture…. She is one of thousands of peaceful protesters who are being punished in Turkey merely for speaking out in favor of fairness, justice, and respect for human rights…. Just over one week ago, Dr. Gençay Gürsoy, founder and former president of the Turkish Medical Association, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison on the same false charges as those levied against Dr. Fincancı…. I respectfully urge you to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Dr. Fincancı and her colleagues, who we believe are being targeted merely for peacefully defending human rights and practicing their right to free expression.”

Copies of the letter were sent to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly Speaker Binali Yıldırım, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kiliç, and Turkey’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Feridun Hadi Sinirlioǧlu.

Read PHR’s letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan here.
Read PHR’s earlier statement regarding Dr. Fincancı’s sentencing here
Read a statement from the World Medical Association here

Sign our petition calling for the dropping of all charges. 

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