Millions of physicians around the world have joined forces to demand the release of Turkey’s physician leader, Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı. Dr. Fincani, President of the Turkish Medical Association, has been held in prison for almost two months after calling for an independent investigation into allegations about the use of chemical weapons. This week, the Istanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court will hold the first hearing of Dr. Fincani on charges of ‘propaganda for a terrorist organisation’.
Today, the WMA, together with the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) and four other European medical organisations, has written again to the President of Turkey protesting that Dr. Fincani was in detention for merely expressing an opinion.
Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chair of the WMA Council, writes: ‘Such denial of liberty constitutes a gross violation of the freedom of speech. Her detention is arbitrary, abusive, and contrary to the most elementary fair trial rules, guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Turkey has ratified in 2003’.
He reminds the Turkish President that the use of chemical weapons was prohibited under international law ratified by Turkey in 1997.
‘It seems to us incongruous at the least that the Turkish authorities punishes one of its citizens for recommending an investigation into the use of weapons which they precisely committed to prohibit.
‘The international medical community urges you to deliver justice fairly and impartially and calls for the immediate release of Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı and to drop all charges against her’.