Two prominent human rights organisations in Turkey in a joint statement called for “everyone with a conscience” to attend and follow on December 23 the first hearing of Şebnem Korur Fincancı, who has been in jail for commenting on allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish military.
Fincancı, a forensics expert and the president of the Turkish Medical Association, was arrested on charges of terrorist propaganda in late October, after she commented on an online television programme about allegations regarding to Turkish military which might constitute a violation of the international law.
The Turkish army is accused of using prohibited chemicals against Kurdish fighters during its military attacks in northern Iraq and human rights defenders worldwide have been calling independent institutions to open investigations into those allegations.
Fincancı, a human rights defender known for her efforts to end torture, is a board member of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) and a member of the Human Rights Association (İHD).
The trial of Fincancı will start on December 23 in Ankara. The chief public prosecutor demanded up to seven years and six months in prison, presenting Fincancı speaking to Medya Haber TV as evidence that she was making propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and accused her of “making it seem like the Turkish Armed Forces’ legitimate defence activities and protection of the country’s indivisible unity were illegal acts using chemical weapons”.
“With our belief that she will gain her freedom with an acquittal, we invite everyone with a conscience to follow the hearing, that will start at 9:30 am in Istanbul 24th Heavy Criminal Court on 23 December 2022, of the trial opened against our dear friend Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı who as a respected scientist and a determined human rights defender has spent her life to protect the people’s health all over the world and to struggle against all types of human rights violations, particularly torture,” TİHV and İHD said in their joint statement.