aposto-logoPazar, 2 Nisan 2023
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Pazar, Nisan 2, 2023
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TTB President Prof. Korur Fincancı Sentenced to Prison

President of the Turkish Medical Association, Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, was sentenced to 2 years, 8 months, and 15 days in prison by the Istanbul 24th High Penal Court at the hearing held on January 11, 2023, in the case where she was tried for the crime of making propaganda for a terrorist organization. Fincancı, who is a forensic expert, said in a television program that the allegations that chemical weapons were used in the operations carried out by the Turkish army in Northern Iraq in October should be investigated by independent committees. Korur Fincancı, who stated that there were people with convulsions and involuntary movements in the images shown to her, reminded her that international conventions should be implemented. She stated that when such a claim arises under the Convention of Banning the Use of Chemical Weapons, the research to be conducted must comply with the principles of the Minnesota Protocol.

Following these words, a defamation campaign was launched against Fincancı in the media close to the government, and an investigation was launched against her by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. Fincancı, who participated in the said program while she was in Germany, returned to Turkey and, through her lawyers, stated that she was ready to give a statement to the prosecutor's office. Despite this, Fincancı was detained in Istanbul, taken to Ankara, and arrested on 26 October. In addition, an investigation has also been initiated on the Turkish Medical Association.

The objections of Fincancı's lawyers against the detention on the grounds that the conditions of detention were not met, there was no strong suspicion of a crime against her, and there were no grounds for her detention were rejected. In the indictment prepared by the Prosecutor's Office, it was demanded that Fincancı be sentenced to up to 7.5 years in prison for "propagandizing for a terrorist organization". Ankara 4th High Penal Court gave a decision of lack of jurisdiction on the grounds that Fincancı's residence address is Istanbul. The first hearing of the trial held within the framework of the indictment accepted by the Istanbul 24th High Penal Court was held on 23 December. Due to Fincancı's wish to actually attend the hearing, her transportation from Ankara to Istanbul was carried out by land route. Fincancı's request to be transferred by plane due to her health problems was rejected by the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of National Defense requested to participate in the proceedings as an intervening party, and the request for intervention was rejected by the court. The court's decision to limit the defense to a maximum of three lawyers was appealed, and this objection was rejected by the court. Following the defense against the indictment, the prosecutor's office requested punishment from the upper line. An additional time was requested by the defense against the prosecutor’s opinion, and the request for release was rejected by the court, and one week was given for the defense.

In the second hearing held on December 29th, the court's dismissal was requested as all the requests were rejected without justification. In the defense on the merits, it was stated that the elements of the crime of propagating the force and violent methods of the terrorist organization did not occur and that Fincancı's statements as a forensic expert that the allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons should be investigated by independent bodies are in accordance with international law standards, thus could not be described as propaganda. It was also stated that Fincancı’s statements are protected within the scope of freedom of expression. The court dismissed the delegation's request for refusal and the request for release, and the hearing was adjourned to 11 January.

At the third hearing on January 11, the court sentenced Fincancı to a conviction for making propaganda for a terrorist organization and was sentenced to 2 years, 8 months ,and 15 days in prison. Following the conviction, it was decided to release Fincancı. The decision is subject to the divisional court of appeal and supreme court of appeal’s review.

In the second hearing held on 29 December, the court's dismissal was requested as all the requests were rejected without justification. In the defense on the merits, it was stated that the elements of the crime of propagating the force and violent methods of the terrorist organization did not occur and that Fincancı's statement as a forensic medicine expert that the allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons should be investigated by independent bodies in accordance with international law standards could not be described as propaganda, and it was protected within the scope of freedom of expression. The court dismissed the delegation's request for refusal and the request for release, and the hearing was adjourned to 11 January.

At the third hearing on January 11, the court sentenced Fincancı to a conviction for making propaganda for a terrorist organization and was sentenced to 2 years, 8 months, and 15 days in prison. Following the conviction, it was decided to release Fincancı. The decision is subject to appeal and appeal review.

Fincancı’s case, who is a forensic expert and the President of the Turkish Medical Association, is a clear indicator of Turkey's poor record of freedom of expression. This became crystal-clear when she was arrested and sentenced for her statements regarding the allegations of the use of chemical weapons should be investigated by independent bodies. It is also clear that the whole judicial process strengthens the concerns about the independence of the judiciary.

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We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.

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