Dr. Serdar Kuni was sentenced to 4 years in prison for what appears to be providing medical care to those in need, as required of all physicians. Dr. Kuni is the representative in Cizre of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey. He has been released pending his appeal, but what is required is that he be released and charges be dropped.
December 23, 2017
Mr. Bekir Bozdağ
Minister of Justice
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 419 33 70
Dear Minister Bozdag:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for Dr. Serdar Küni, who has been sentenced to over 4 years in prison for what appears to be nothing more than providing medical assistance to those in need, as all doctors around the world are ethically obligated to do. As the representative in Cizre of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Dr. Küni is a widely respected medical professional. While we welcome the fact that he has been released pending his appeal, we urge that your government review this case and reconsider its advocacy – we encourage you to do the right thing and release Dr. Kuni, dropping all charges.
Dr. Küni was arrested on October 19, 2016, and charged with “providing treatment to (alleged) militants”. This charge itself forces physicians not to do the very thing they are required to do by their Oath as a medical professional – provide care where needed and do no harm. The trial that followed did not meet international fair trial standards, as it included the use of anonymous witnesses and testimony obtained by the use of torture.
Turkey has an international obligation to protect, not prosecute, medical professionals, including in situations of armed conflict, and to respect the principle of medical neutrality. We urge your government to right the wrongs committed in this case and allow the illegitimate conviction of Dr. Serdar Küni to be overturned.
We thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Serdar Kiliç
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 612 6700 OR 202 612 6701
Fax: 1 202 612 6744