World Psychiatric Association calls for immediate release of top doctor and human rights activist Fincancı

PHOTO: Evrensel daily
PHOTO: Evrensel daily

The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) has called on the Turkish government to ensure the immediate release of the head of a leading doctors’ union in Turkey arrested on terrorist propaganda charges.

“Such an attack on a medical expert, who acts solely out of respect for international human rights and works to the highest ethical standards, is without precedent,” the WPA said in a statement.

Fincancı is a key member of the WPA Section of Psychological Consequences of Torture and Persecution and has recently advised the WPA of projects in Ukraine and Syria.

Şebnem Korur Fincancı, 63, chairperson of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), a forensic expert and a prominent human rights activist, was taken into custody at her home in İstanbul on October 26 and arrested in Ankara, where she was brought for questioning, the next day.

Her arrest came after she called for an investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons by the Turkish army against the Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.

Fincancı faces charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda and insulting the state in her remarks.

She recently answered questions posed by the BBC from Sincan Prison in Ankara through her lawyers. When asked to comment on the accusations against her, Fincancı said she was facing a political process and not a legal one since arresting someone pending trial on terrorist propaganda charges was “not acceptable” in terms of the law and that her returning from abroad after learning about the investigation into her showed that there’s no reason to suspect she poses a flight risk.

Turkey has strongly rejected the allegations that appeared in media outlets close to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that its army was using chemical weapons in its counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community.

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