Yesterday, 19.12.2018,, the court in Turkey sentenced Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, an expert in forensic medicine and a founding president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), to two years and six months in prison, for signing a peace petition. Şebnem, who has dedicated her life to advocating for victims and survivors of torture, is a dear friend and colleague of ours and with her unrelenting stand – an inspiration to everyone who is fighting to stop torture..
Şebnem is one of the authors of “Istanbul Protocol” - the international guidelines for the documentation of torture and its consequences, which became an official UN document. In line with these guidelines she has performed dozens of medical assessments to torture victims around the world – from Turkey to the Balkans to the Middle East.
Şebnem had visited Israel and Palestine many times and has trained medical, mental health and legal professionals on the work with victims and survivors of torture and abuse. Only a month ago, while visiting PCATI, she shared with us the challenges of human rights defenders in Turkey and told us about her upcoming trial.
Her sentence is a great shame to Turkey and a warning sign to us all; an example of the harsh measures the authorities are willing to take in order to stop civil society and human rights organizations. We stand in solidarity with Şebnem, her family and HRFT, and call for her immediate release.
Photo: Şebnem (left) together with Dr. Bettina birmanns, the chairwoman of PCATI’S board, on a recent visit to Israel.