Sentencing Şebnem Korur Financı Is Sentencing Human Dignity


Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) which had been founded by İHD and its board of directors, has been sentenced to 2 years 6 months in prison by Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court under Article 7 § 2 of the Anti-Terror Code for signing the peace declaration “We Will Not Be a Party to This Crime!” of 11 January 2016 which had been signed by 1,1128 academics. This sentence has not been suspended. We strongly condemn the verdict on Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a prominent human rights defender and forensic medicine professor.


The HRFT statement on the issue incorporates detailed information.[1] İHD would like to note that it adopts HRFT’s statement in its entirety.


In Turkey sentencing human rights defenders and those who exercise their right to freedom of expression by arbitrarily using the Anti-Terror Code (ATC), Turkish Penal Code (TPC), and other specialized codes has been brought up to an advanced stage by the verdict handed down to Şebnem Korur Fincancı. This verdict has virtually ignored freedom of expression in Turkey and revealed, once again, the fact that defending human rights had no guarantees whatsoever.


İHD calls on the government and reminds it again of “İHD Report and Recommendations for the Elimination of Injustice in Penal Legislation”[2] to remove all the obstacles before freedom of expression in Turkey.


İHD demands that the Ministry of Justice present a bill to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey which will repeal all legislative provisions that restrict freedom of expression and/or bring them in compliance with international criteria in a way to cover notably Articles 6 and 7 of the ATC and Articles 220 and 314 of the TPC.


Although a partial improvement was achieved in 2012 by the deferral of sentences handed down within the scope of offenses committed by means of the press, this regulation failed to rule out the threat against freedom of expression. Freedom of expression should unconditionally be protected without reserve. To this end, İHD demands that a law should be passed to repeal all offences alleged to be committed through the press and the social media and sentences handed down thereof with all their consequences and the Turkish judiciary act in compliance with the case law of the ECtHR particularly in cases related to freedom of expression.


İHD invites the democratic public to be more sensitive about freedom of expression in order to keep many an intellectual, author, journalist, human rights defender, politician, activist, student, trade unionist and jurist out of jail in the persons of İHD Co-Chairperson Eren Keskin, former Chair of the Turkish Medical Association’s Central Council Gençay Gürsoy, the President of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey Şebnem Korur Fincancı and to demand the immediate release of the jailed ones.


Human Rights Association


[1] https://tihv.org.tr/vicdanin-sesi-sebnem-korur-fincanci-cezalandirilamaz/

[2] http://ihd.org.tr/en/index.php/2018/09/26/ihd-report-and-recommendations-for-the-elimination-of-injustice-in-penal-legislation/