01 Oct 2002
Medical doctor, human rights defender, on trial in

The trial against a Turkish psychiatrist and human rights defender shows that Turkey, in spite of a comprehensive reform package, does not comply with the EU criteria for applicants with regard to democracy, human rights and rule of law.

The IRCT Ambassador Inge Genefke, MD DMSc hc, and IRCT medical officer Margriet Blaauw, MD, will monitor the trial against the medical doctor Alp Ayan, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), in the court in Izmir Wednesday 2 October. Dr. Ayan is charged with insulting the state and its officers according to article 159 in Turkey's penal code. The "crime" he has committed is to criticise the Government of Turkey for torture.

Reliable and bona fide reports that have been published in Turkey and abroad document systematic torture in Turkey. The case against Dr. Ayan serves as evidence that Turkey violates human rights through torture, as well as violating the freedom of speech.

A leading European politician expressed concern over the trial. Social Democrat member of the European Parliament and former Danish Minister for Health, Torben Lund, says:

"The charges are inconsistent with the criteria for membership of the EU with regard to human rights and international conventions. The EU must insist that the charges in this trial, and in any similar trial, are dropped before setting a date for negotiating the Turkish application for EU membership. The EU must put as much pressure as possible on the Turkish government in order to assure that Turkey respects basic human rights, not only in theory but also in practice."

Dr. Ayan is working as a psychiatrist for the Izmir rehabilitation centre for torture victims of the HRFT, a partner organisation of the IRCT.

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