In a letter to the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies urges Turkish leaders to immediately release Dr. Şebnem Korur Finçancı, an internationally recognized forensic physician and president of the Turkish Medical Association, who´s been on pre-trial detention since October 2022.
Stockholm 20 December 2022
We, the Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies, write respectfully to seek your most urgent assistance with the case of Dr. Şebnem Korur Finçancı, an internationally recognized forensic physician and president of the Turkish Medical Association who is in pre-trial detention as a consequence of her peaceful exercise of internationally protected rights and freedoms.
Dr. Finçancı was arrested at her home in Istanbul on October 26, 2022, and has been in detention since then. One week earlier, during a television interview in Germany she said, as an answer to a question about the alleged use of chemical weapons involving the Turkish military, that these allegations should be investigated independently in accordance with international standards. We understand that the day after the interview, the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal investigation into Dr. Finçancı. It is our understanding that she has been indicted on charges of making “propaganda for a terrorist organization” and that her trial is scheduled to begin on December 23 before the Istanbul 24th High Criminal Court. We are alarmed that Dr. Finçancı’s current case is one of a number of legal proceedings that have been brought against her in recent years in connection with her peaceful efforts to defend the right to health and human rights more generally.
Dr. Finçancı’s actions constitute the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of opinion and expression—rights which are protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which Türkiye has ratified. Thus, we respectfully urge you to use your good offices to facilitate her immediate release from pre-trial detention.
We thank you, Your Excellency, for your attention to this important matter.
Professor, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies includes members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, the Swedish Academy and the Young Academy of Sweden.