Turkey: The case of Dr. Serdar Küni

May 9, 2017

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On April 24th, the Turkish medical doctor Serdar Küni was sentenced by a local court to over 4 years of imprisonment. In response, a coalition of organizations led by Physicians for Human Rights, sent a letter to the Regional High Court in Gaziantep (Turkey) and the Turkish Ministry of Justice. The letter, which was also signed by IFHHRO, calls on the Court to uphold its fair trial obligations under international law in the appeal of the lower court’s conviction of Dr. Küni. According to many human rights organizations, this conviction was based on arbitrary charges (providing medical treatment to Kurdish fighters) based on an anonymous testimony and signed statements obtained under torture.

Dr. Serdar Küni was arrested on October 19th, 2016 and has been detained since then pending trial. According to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), of which Dr. Küni is a local representative, the allegations made against him are not based on any concrete evidence.

The second hearing of his case was held on April 24th, 2017 in the presence of national and international observers. The local court stated that no relationship of Dr. 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 Dr. Küni to 4 years and 2 months imprisonment. At the same time, the doctor was released pending the final decision of the Gaziantep regional high court.

Medical neutrality

“The proceeding has shown us clearly that what’s on trial is in fact, the universal ethical principles related to medical practice”, secretary general Metin Bakkalcı of HRFT wrote in a press release. “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.”

IFHHRO calls on our partner organisations, supporters and the media to share and raise awareness on Dr. Küni’s case, and encourage the relevant Turkish officials to uphold their duties to protect the right to health, medical neutrality, and fair trial in the case of Serdar Küni.

Download the letter (PDF)