27 Jan 2021
IRCT calls on Turkish court to overturn Dr Serdar Küni's outrageous conviction

Dr Küni was sentenced to four years and two months based on a flawed trial, hearsay evidence and witness testimonies provided under torture. IRCT calls on Gaziantep Regional High Court to overturn conviction.

IRCT calls on Turkish court to overturn Dr Serdar Küni's outrageous conviction

The IRCT is deeply concerned by the sentencing of Dr Küni and calls on the Gaziantep Regional High Court to overturn the decision, acquit him and immediately cease the continuing judicial harassment of Dr Küni and other health professionals.

“This is an outrageous affront to health professionals all around the world,” said Lisa Henry, Secretary General of the IRCT. “We know it takes place in a context of widespread harassment and reprisals against health professionals and human rights defenders in Turkey and is nothing but an attempt to silence the crucial work they do.”

Dr Küni is a volunteer medical doctor with IRCT member centre, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) was charged with allegedly providing medical treatment to members of Kurdish armed groups while they occupied parts of the city of Cizre in January and February 2016.

Dr Küni was arrested and detained in October 2016 and in April 2017, was sentenced to four years two months imprisonment but this decision was later reversed by the Gaziantep Regional High Court which also ordered a retrial. The retrial began in April 2018 in Sirnak and in November 2020 Dr Küni was again sentenced to four years and two months in prison. His sentencing has now been appealed and is set to be heard by the Gaziantep Regional High Court. The IRCT calls on the High Court to once again overturn the decision and promptly acquit Dr Küni of all charges against him.

The IRCT is deeply concerned by the admission and consideration of evidence, which we witnessed as member of the international delegation observing the court in April 2017. The prosecution relied on anonymous witnesses and hearsay evidence, which, by its nature, is not possible to verify during the court hearing. Even more concerning, the four identifiable witnesses all alleged that they were forced to sign their testimonies under torture.

For more information

Read our previous statement from March 2020 here.

"This is an outrageous affront to health professionals all around the world. We know it takes places in a context of widespread harassment and reprisals against health professionals and human rights defenders in Turkey and is nothing but an attempt to silence the crucial work they do.”

-Lisa Henry, IRCT Secretary General


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