Court accepts indictment against TTB President Fincancı

The TTB president is accused of "terror propaganda" because of her demand for an independent investigation into the possible violation of the ban on chemical weapons by the Turkish army.

Standing trial because of her demand for an investigation into the possible violation of the ban on chemical weapons by the Turkish army, the president of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Şebnem Korur Fincancı, will appear before court on 23 December. In the indictment adopted on Friday, the 63-year-old is accused of "propaganda for a terrorist organisation", and the chief public prosecutor’s office in Ankara pleads for a sentence in the upper range. Fincancı faces up to seven and a half years in prison, according to her defence lawyer Meriç Eyüpoğlu. An application for release from custody was rejected.

Şebnem Korur Fincancı has been in pre-trial detention since the end of October. The accusation against her is related to statements around the use of chemical weapons against the PKK guerrillas in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). In a television interview with the Kurdish broadcaster Medya Haber, the internationally renowned forensic pathologist had demanded a few days before her arrest that the accusations be independently investigated according to international standards. President Erdoğan then accused her of denigrating the armed forces and insulting her country.

Fincancı had called for an international investigation into the allegations from the Kurdish side after viewing footage from guerrilla areas in southern Kurdistan. The videos, also published by ANF, show Turkish soldiers using chemical weapons against guerrilla positions during occupation operations in southern Kurdistan. There is also footage of injured guerrilla fighters who were exposed to the chemicals used by the Turkish army in guerrilla areas. In addition to Fincancı, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and Kurdish civil society have also called for independent investigations. The Turkish government denies the allegations.

The case against Fincancı, who is also the chairperson of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), is being heard by the 24th Heavy Penal Court of Istanbul. The indictment was initially filed with a criminal chamber in Ankara, but the chamber transferred the case to Istanbul due to a local lack of jurisdiction. If the prosecution has its way, the doctor will be sentenced according to Article 7, paragraph 2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law (Law No. 3713). The text of the law states: "Whoever makes propaganda for a terrorist organisation shall be punished with imprisonment between one and five years. The penalty is increased by half if the "crime" is committed through the press or radio.