Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office Luise Amtsberg issued the following statement today (23 December) regarding the start of the trial of Şebnem Korur Fincancı:
In Istanbul, one of Turkey’s most courageous voices will stand trial from today. The trial of Şebnem Korur Fincancı reminds us once again of the price that human rights activists in Turkey are paying for their work. As a State Party to the ECHR, Turkey must respect freedom of speech and of expression. Şebnem Korur Fincancı enjoys our full solidarity.
The renowned human rights activist, forensic expert and Head of the Turkish Medical Association Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı was arrested in Istanbul on 26 October 2022. The prosecution accuses her of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” in connection with a television interview and is calling for a prison sentence of seven years and six months. A few days prior to her arrest, Korur Fincancı had spoken out in an interview in favour of independent and international investigations into the alleged use of poison gas by Turkish forces in northern Iraq. She did not imply that such poison gas had actually been used. The first hearing in the criminal proceedings will take place on 23 December 2022. In addition, the public prosecutor’s office has filed a civil suit against the Turkish Medical Association in order to force a new election of the chair.