10 January 2017
On 11 January, the second hearing of Professor Sebnem Korur Fincanci, President of the Human Rights Foundation Turkey (an IRCT member) and a member of the Independent Forensic Expert Group (IFEG) will take place in Istanbul. IRCT Director for Governance and Policy, Miriam Reventlow, will join a delegation of human rights defenders to observe the hearing.
The trial of Dr Fincanci is of serious concern to the IRCT and its membership and is just one example of the growing crackdown facing hundreds of independent professionals in exercise of their ethical duties, including doctors, forensic experts, other health professionals, journalists and academics.
Dr Fincanci was arrested in June 2016, along with two other human rights defenders, for taking part in a solidarity campaign to defend the independence of the newspaper Ozgur Gundem, which is often critical of the government and aligned with Turkey’s Kurdish minority. If found guilty they could face up to 14 years in jail.
The IRCT and the Independent Forensic Group (IFEG) have signed a joint statement to President Erdogan on the unlawful charges against human rights defenders. The statement called on Turkish authorities to, “cease the harassment and intimidation of health professionals exercising their rights to free expression and association”.
“The IRCT, as part of the global movement for the rehabilitation of torture victims, continues to stand with Dr Fincanci, her family and other colleagues in solidarity and support at this challenging time,” says Miriam Reventlow.
The first hearing took place on 8 November 2016 when proceedings were postponed. Prior to the hearing, IRCT Secretary-General, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, joined a large number of human rights defenders, NGO representatives, and media representatives from around the world to make a statement of solidarity. A similar event will take place following the hearing on 11 January, to once again express how unfounded the allegations are and how invaluable the pursuit for truth is.
Miriam Reventlow will be joined at this event by representatives from other international organisations, including the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War- Europe, Red Cross Foundation Sweden, Zentrum Uberleben Berlin, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Physicians Group of Amnesty International Germany.