Turkey: Forensic expert Dr. Fincancı arrested

June 25, 2016


IFHHRO has signed a letter drafted by our member Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) calling for the immediate, unconditional release of Şebnem Korur Fincancı, chair of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and a forensic expert. Recently, Mrs. Fincancı was detained by the Turkish authorities, along with author Ahmet Nesin and Erol Önderoğlu of Reporters Without Borders, on terrorism-related charges. The Turkish authorities should release all three and drop all charges against them.


“Terrorist propaganda”

Şebnem Korur Fincancı was imprisoned after taking part in a solidarity campaign defending the editorial independence of Özgür Gündem, a paper aligned with the Kurdish minority in Turkey and frequently critical of the Turkish government. She is being held in pre-trial detention over charges of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” under Turkey’s anti-terror laws. The Turkish government has repeatedly been criticized by the United Nations and various human rights organizations over allegations of grave human rights violations, including violence and harassment against human rights defenders, journalists, and doctors who support victims of torture.

Since many years, Dr. Fincancı has been working to end torture. She has trained many doctors and scientists in Turkey and around the world in forensic investigative techniques, and her expertise contributed to the first-ever successful torture prosecution in Turkey. She also helped draft the Istanbul Protocol, the global standard for carrying out torture-related investigations. Currently, she is a member of the Independent Forensic Expert Group, a group of international specialists brought together by the IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims) and the Copenhagen University Department of Forensic Medicine. IFHHRO’s Secretary, Adriaan van Es, is also a member of this group.

“Dr. Fincancı’s detention is a blatant attempt to silence the voice of a woman at the vanguard of human rights in Turkey and around the world,” said PHR’s director of programs, Widney Brown. “We are here to say that she and her cause cannot be silenced. And we at PHR won’t be silent while our friend and colleague is being held unlawfully for exercising the very rights she defends. Dr. Fincancı must be released immediately. Full stop.”


Source: Press release PHR, 20 June 2016