Good Medical Practice is Convicted on Behalf of Serdar Küni MD!

Conviction of good medical practice by the Şırnak Local Court on behalf of Serdar Küni MD is unacceptable!

25 April 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

As you know, Serdar Küni MD. Human Rights Foundation of Turkey Cizre Representative and former president of the Şırnak Medical Chamber was arrested on October 19th, 2016 and has been detained since then pending trial. Küni is tried for his alleged treatment of persons alleged to be ‘militants’ and alleged to be ‘members of a terrorist organization’, and he is accused of membership to the armed organization.

The first hearing of the case was held on March 13th, 2017, at the Şırnak 2nd Heavy Penal Court. During the first hearing, it became very obvious that these allegations are not based on any concrete evidence. The witness testimonies upon which the allegations rely, do not include any specific information that can be linked to the charges. Furthermore, the testimonies have been denied also by the witnesses themselves, who stated that they have testified under torture and that the concerned testimonies have been fabricated. Despite all, Serdar Küni MD. wasn’t released in this first hearing and the hearing was postponed.

The 2nd hearing of the case was held on April 24th, 2017 in the presence of national and international observers, including representatives of the most prominent international medical and human rights organizations. The local court stated that no relationship of MD Küni with the armed organization was detected. Yet, at the end of this hearing, despite the absence of any concrete evidence, the court convicted and sentenced MD Küni to 4 years 2 months imprisonment. At the same time, Küni was released pending final decision of the Gaziantep regional high court.

We believe, the contradictory attitude of the panel of judges and its decision to release MD Küni, is indicative of the fact that the panel was not convinced by the nature of the evidence. We are deeply convinced that in this case where there is no concrete evidence, MD Küni will be definitely acquitted by the regional high court in the further period.

The proceeding has shown us clearly that what’s on trial is in fact, the universal ethical principles related to medical practice. Despite immense difficulties, MD. Serdar Küni has been, for many years and in the witness of many, practicing human rights-based medicine in Cizre district of Şırnak, with a strong commitment to the ethical and scientific references of good medical practice. Since the very first day, we know that the real target of this “trial” is national and international law and conventions, universal ethical principles of good medical practice and mainly human conscience.

As HRFT, we extend our most sincere gratitudes to all our friends and colleagues who stood by Serdar Küni in this process. Thanks to an enormous solidarity environment both at the national and international levels, Serdar Küni is with us again. We believe that with support of you all, he will be acquitted as required, and this case will be an exemplary one in terms of good medical practice in conflict environments throughout the world.

We will share with you our schedule in the upcoming days.

Warm regards,

Metin Bakkalcı

HRFT Secretary General

Call on the Second Hearing of Imprisoned Medical Doctor Serdar Küni

22 April 2017

The second hearing of the case based on groundless allegations concerning professional practices of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) Cizre Reference Center Representative and former President of Şırnak Medical Association Dr. Serdar Küni, who is detained now for 6 months, will be held at the Şırnak 2nd Heavy Penal Court on Monday, April 24th, 2017 at 2 pm.

Dr. Serdar Küni, who has been decisively practicing medicine in Cizre for years with a strong commitment to the fundamental values, was arrested on October 19th , 2016. During the first hearing, it became very obvious that these allegations are not based on any concrete evidence. The authenticity of the witness testimonies upon which the allegations rely, has been refused by the witnesses themselves, who stated that they have testified under torture and that the concerned testimonies have been arranged on behalf of them. Despite all, Dr. Serdar Küni wasn’t released.

As we have stated since the very beginning, the real target of this trial is national and international law and conventions, universal ethical principles of good medical practice and mainly human conscience. Thus, we will be at the Şırnak Court on April 24th, 2017 to remind one more time that good medical practice cannot be prosecuted.

We are honored to express that, herewith, the solidarity for good medical practice gets beyond the borders. Representatives of several international medical and human rights organizations from throughout the World, including Senior program officer of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Christine Mehta, REDRESS Director Carla Ferstman, Per Stadig from Red Cross Center for Tortured Refugees Stockholm-Sweden, Deputy Secretary General of Norwegian Helsinki Committee Gunnar M. Ekelove-Slydal, German Medical Association and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War-Germany (IPPNW) Ernst Ludwig Iskenius, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War-Europe Barbara Neppert and Andreas Speck from War Resisters’ International and La Transicionera will be observing the hearing along with Vice President of Turkish Medical Association Prof. Dr. Sinan Adıyaman and General Secretary of HRFT Dr.Metin Bakkalcı and many more representatives from different cities in Turkey.

We believe that thanks to this formidable solidarity environment, Dr. Serdar Küni will become free by this second hearing which will be held at the Şırnak 2nd Heavy Penal Court on Monday, April 24th, 2017 at 2 pm.

Good medical practice cannot be prosecuted!

 

HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF TURKEY

BİŞENG

Turkey Prolongs Unlawful Detention of Physician Who Treated Patients During Unrest in Southeast

New York, NY – 03/17/2017

A court in the southeastern Turkish city of Şırnak has ordered the continued arbitrary detention of Dr. Serdar Küni, a member of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and former president of the Şırnak medical chamber, this week extending his five-month confinement by at least another month.

Dr. Küni is charged with providing medical treatment to alleged members of Kurdish armed groups. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) – which attended and moitored the trial on March 13 – demands the immediate dismissal of all legal actions against Dr. Küni and a stop to the ongoing persecution of health workers in Turkey’s southeast.

Dr. Küni was arrested and detained on October 19, 2016 on charges that he provided medical treatment to alleged members of Kurdish armed groups while they clashed with Turkish security forces in 2015 and 2016. In a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, PHR wrote that the charges against Dr. Küni are part of a wave of arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of health workers throughout Turkey’s southeast. At the conclusion of this week’s trial, a judge ordered that Dr. Küni remain in custody until a second hearing set for April 24.

“By bringing criminal charges against doctors who treat patients, Turkey is sending a chilling message that undermines the medical profession and prevents access to health care,” said Susannah Sirkin, PHR’s director of international policy and partnerships. “We observed similar tactics of intimidation and harassment used against doctors attempting to treat protesters at Istanbul’s Gezi Park in 2013 and against doctors all over Turkey standing up for human rights during the state of emergency imposed after last July’s attempted military coup.”

“It is unlawful for the Turkish authorities to punish Dr. Küni for simply doing his job,” said Sirkin. “A doctor’s duty is to treat the sick and wounded, regardless of a patient’s race, nationality, political affiliation, or status as a party to a conflict.”

The continued detention and prosecution of Dr. Serdar Küni runs counter to Turkey’s obligations under international human rights law to provide effective protection for health care workers, including during times of conflict, unrest, or emergency. Such obligations also allow health professionals to provide care for all without discrimination, in accordance with international medical ethics. The UN General Assembly resolution on the Principles of Medical Ethics (A/RES/37/194), which is applicable in and outside of armed conflict situations, likewise obligates states not to compel medical personnel to undertake actions that contravene medical ethics, including refusing to provide treatment. The arrest of medical professionals for delivering treatment may amount to arbitrary arrest and detention under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Turkey is a state party.

PHR also said Turkey is failing its obligation under international law to conduct proceedings against Dr. Küni that meet international fair trial standards. PHR observed four witnesses withdraw their statements against Dr. Küni on March 13, alleging they had been tortured in police custody and coerced into signing statements that were then used as evidence to detain and charge Dr. Küni. International law prohibits the use of evidence elicited by torture, ill-treatment, or coercion. The prohibition applies at all times, including during times of emergency and regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crime. Turkish domestic law also prohibits the use of evidence obtained through torture, ill-treatment, or coercion.

Despite the lack of evidence and the witnesses’ withdrawal of their statements, the judge remanded Dr. Küni to custody. The judge also failed to order inquiries into the allegations of torture from the witnesses, but did request medical records kept during their time in custody.

“Turkish authorities should immediately drop all legal actions against Dr. Küni and release him from detention,” said Sirkin. “Turkish authorities must also ensure that all legal proceedings meet international fair trial standards. The legal proceedings against Dr. Küni in Şırnak raise serious questions about the independence and impartiality of Turkish courts in the current climate within the country, and represent an alarming assault on medical neutrality.”

Background

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) conducted an investigation in April 2016 into reports of violations of human rights and medical neutrality in southeastern Turkey starting in July 2015. The Turkish government sent thousands of Turkish soldiers and special operations police forces into the southeast to quell an uprising of youth militias seeking greater Kurdish autonomy. The government imposed dozens of curfews on entire towns and cities, cutting off access to water, food, electricity, and health care, even in emergency situations. In response, some health professionals living in neighborhoods under curfew treated the wounded and sick from their homes, or remained stationed around-the-clock at hospitals.

PHR documented several incidents in which health professionals, including ambulance drivers, were shot at or killed while responding to calls for emergency care in neighborhoods under curfew. Between July 2015 and June 2016, numerous health care workers were either charged with the crimes of “making terrorist propaganda” and “being part of an illegal organization, or were subjected to administrative inquiries by the Ministry of Health, in some cases for treating alleged members of the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement or Kurdistan Workers’ Party in hospitals in areas under curfew. For more detail, see PHR’s August 2016 report “Southeastern Turkey: Health Care Under Siege.”

Legal actions, both criminal and administrative, that punish health professionals for carrying out their duties are in direct violation of the Turkish state’s international human rights obligations. International humanitarian law and international human rights law both mandate the protection of health professionals in order to allow them to fulfill their duties to provide care for those in need, without regard to any element of identity, affiliation, or political opinion. These medical professionals should therefore not be criminalized.

PHR has also repeatedly called for Turkish authorities to cease the ongoing harassment of medical professionals, lawyers, academics, journalists, and other human rights defenders in Turkey since the outbreak of hostilities in southeastern Turkey in July 2015, and exacerbated by last year’s attempted military coup.

You can visit PHR’s web site through the link.

Call For the Internationally Participated Forum on Good Medical Practice and the Trial of MD.Serdar Küni!

March, 7, 2017

The first hearing of the case concerning former President of Şırnak Medical Association and HRFT Cizre Reference Center Representative MD.Serdar Küni, who is “detained” now for approximately 5 months, will be held at the Şırnak 2nd Heavy Penal Court on Monday, March 13th, 2017 at 1.45 pm.

Serdar Küni, who has been, despite immense difficulties, decisively practicing medicine in Cizre for years with a strong commitment to the fundamental values; was arrested on October 19, 2016 with groundless allegations concerning his professional practices.

serdar fotoDuring the next steps of this “trial”, we will expose these groundless allegations and the value of good medical practices through MD.Serdar Küni, who practiced his profession especially within the region that is going through massive pain for years in the witness of everyone by the fundamental ethical and scientific references of medicine. We will be altogether in Şırnak on March 13th to remind everyone that the real target of this “trial” is national and international law and conventions, universal ethical principles and human conscience, and that good medical practice cannot be prosecuted!

We are honored to express that, herewith, the solidarity for good medical practice gets beyond the borders. Representatives of several international medical and human rights organizations from throughout the World, including Bjorn Oscar Hoftved from World Medical Association and Norwegian Medical Association, Susannah Sirkin from Physcians for Human Rights (PHR), Per Stadig from Red Cross Foundation Sweden, Lutz Oette from School of Oriental and African Studies Law Department and Rudi Friedrich from War Resisters’ International (WRI) will be participating the Forum on Good Medical Practice in Diyarbakır on March 12th, at 11 am along with General Secretary of Turkish Medical Association MD. Sezai Berber, former presidents of TMA Prof.MD Gençay Gürsoy and Prof.MD. Özdemir Aktan and General Secretary of HRFT MD. Metin Bakkalcı and many more representatives of different cities in Turkey.

Right after the forum, we will be together for the Peace, Companionship and Democracy Award Ceremony which is granted by Diyarbakır Medical Chamber since 1996. The awardees of 2017 are MD.Serdar KÜNİ, who practiced medicine in Cizre with a strong commitment to the fundamental values of the profession and laid claim on ethics of medicine, human rights and right to health of people on any grounds and therefore got arrested, and writer Aslı ERDOĞAN, in the name of all intellectuals and writers due to her act and statements that strengthens human rights struggle during these difficult times.

Right after the forum, we will be off to Şırnak for the next day trial, including the attendance of Ernst Ludwig Iskenius from Physicians Group of Amnesty International-Germany and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

We have trust in our solidarity and looking forward to share and strengthen our values all together on March 12th at the forum and award ceremony in Diyarbakır and on March 13th at the trial in Şırnak.

 

Turkish Medical Associations

Diyarbakır Medical Association

Human Rights Association

Please click here to download the call and the programme as pdf.

serdar programme

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