Human rights defender Dr. Serdar Küni has been sentenced to 4 years, 2 months in prison again in retrial.
Dr. Küni, who was a reference physician from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) Cizre Reference Center, was arrested on October 19, 2016. Facing charges for “helping people who were allegedly members of [a terrorist] organization and being a member of the organization” himself, Küni was released by the court on April 24, 2017.
Putting the physician on trial over his actions during the period of curfews in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Şırnak, the Şırnak 2nd Heavy Penal Court ruled that Dr. Küni should be sentenced to 4 years, 2 months for “aiding the organization” and ruled for his release.
The verdict was reversed by the Gaziantep Regional Court of Justice. Following this reversal, the retrial began at the local court on April 25, 2018.
At the final hearing of the retrial held by the Şrnak 2nd Heavy Penal Court yesterday (November 16), Dr. Küni has been sentenced to 4 years, 2 months in prison. According to the court ruling, while the judgement has been handed down on charge of “organization membership,” he has been given a prison sentence of 4 years, 2 months as required by his acquired right.
The TİHV has released a statement about the issue and underlined that the court gave this ruling “even though, from the first hearing onward, it was once again understood how baseless the allegations were and how they were devoid of any concrete evidence just as it was understood that the witness statements did not contain any concrete evidence, the witnesses themselves said that these statements had been taken under torture and the statetements in question did not belong to them.”
An appeal will be lodged against the ruling and it will once again be examined by the Gaziantep Regional Court of Justice.
‘What is put on trial is a practice of medicine’
In its statement, the TİHV has stressed that what is put on trial is “the practice of medicine based on universal ethical values.” It has said, “The environment of solidarity created on both national and international arena till today has shown that Dr. Serdar Küni is not alone in any way at all.”
Expressing its “most heart-felt thanks to the physician in the name of all colleagues, friends and human rights defenders,” the foundation has said:
“We believe that, thanks to this strong support and solidarity, the law will have the upper hand at the next stage of the trial, justice will be served and Dr. Serdar Küni will be acquitted. In that case, this trial will also set an example to other parts of the world in the name of good medical practices in conflict environments.”