On February 9, 2018 Professor Onur Hamzaoglu was detained, and arrested on February 17. He remains in Sincan Prison in Ankara. In Court on February 16th he was denied bail. His trial is scheduled for July 19th.
Hamzaoglu is a professor, medical doctor, active member of the Turkish Medical Association, editor of the Medical Association’s monthly journal and has been a member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Health Policy in Europe since 2011. Additionally, he is the co-spokesperson for the Peoples’ Democratic Congress in Turkey, a union of numerous organizations and parties in Turkey, which in 2012 formed the Peoples’ Democratic Party – the second largest opposition party in the current parliament. Hamzaoglu was one of the signers of the Peace Petition in January of 2016 demanding peace and a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in the Kurdish regions of Turkey.
As a result of signing the Academics for Peace petition he was, like many other academic signers, terminated from his job at the University of Kocaeli. He, then, formed the Kocaeli Solidarity Academy to defend the rights of those academics who had signed the petition and lost their jobs.
Earlier, in 2011, Hamzaoglu conducted a study on the adverse effects of industrialization in the Dilovasi region, east of Istanbul. He showed that there were heavy metals appearing in the breast milk of mothers and in the first stools of babies in the region. For this he was targeted by the local administration, central government and industry. He was accused of provoking panic among people and was called a charlatan by the mayor. He had strong support from professional associations, unions, civil society and the local populous. He was finally found innocent.
On the current occasion, Hamzaoglu was imprisoned for a press statement made jointly by nine organizations on February 4 stating opposition to the Turkish army’s involvement in the Afrin province – calling for non-intervention and peace. One of the organizations involved in this statement was the Peoples’ Democratic Congress. A lawsuit was brought against 11 of the individuals representing these organizations. Nine of the individuals were released pending trial. However, Hamzaoglu was not released – a violation of the Law on Criminal Procedure which establishes the rules for adoption of such decisions. It is also against the European Convention on Human Rights and Court Jurisprudence. The public prosecutor asked for Hamzaoglu’s release stating that the conditions that render arrest necessary are absent. The court, however, insisted on continued detainment.
Hamzaoglu’s trial is scheduled to be held on July 19, 2018 at 10:00 am by the 29th Criminal Court of Ankara at the Sihhiuye Courthouse in Ankara, Courtroom of the Ankara 11th Criminal Court.
The Committee of Concerned Scientists requests the following:
a) The Turkish government re-examine this case and release Dr. Hamzaoglu pending trial
b) Any representatives of human rights, the European Union, medical associations, academic organizations attend the trial as observers
c) Sign the petition on Change.Org’s website: https://www.change.org/p/president-of-the-republic-of-turkey-h-e-recep-tayyip-erdo%C4%9Fan-free-professor-onur-hamzaoglu-human-rights-activist-and-academic-turkey
d) Spread the word.