Turkey: Ongoing judicial harassment against Dr. Serdar Küni

Urgent Appeal
en tr

New information
TUR 004 / 1116 / OBS 092.2
Judicial harassment
March 18, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment against Dr. Serdar Küni, a physician and Cizre Representative of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) and President of the Şırnak Medical Chamber.

According to the information received, on April 1, 2020, the final hearing in the case against Dr. Serdar Küni, which was launched more than three and a half years ago, is finally scheduled to take place before the Sırnak Heavy Penal Tribunal.

The Observatory recalls that on April 24, 2017, Dr. Serdar Küni was sentenced to four years and two months imprisonment under Article 220/7 which states that “a person who knowingly and willingly assists the organization but is not within the hierarchical structure of the organization is punished as a member of the organization”. His sentence was related to his work as a physician, providing health service in Cizre in a very challenging environment affected by armed clashes related to the Kurdish issue. Dr. Serdar Küni, who had been detained since October 19, 2016, was subsequently released, pending the final decision of the Gaziantep Regional High Court.

On October 4, 2017, the Gaziantep Regional High Court reversed the judgement by the local court and the proceedings were re-launched on April 25, 2018 in Sırnak. It became clear to the observers that the charges are not backed up by any evidence and the witness testimonies were taken under torture as stated by the witnesses themselves. Despite this, on the most recent sixth hearing of the case, on February 19, 2020, the Prosecutor came up with a new accusation linking Dr. Küni to “terror” crimes and demanding his sentencing to imprisonment from seven and a half to 15 years under Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code and Article 3 of the Anti-Terror Law.

The Observatory firmly condemns the ongoing judicial harassment of Dr. Serdar Küni, which appears to be only aimed at punishing him for the exercise of his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities.

The Observatory calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Dr. Serdar Küni.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Dr. Serdar Küni and of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Dr. Serdar Küni and all human rights defenders in Turkey, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iii. Refrain from the practice of abusing anti-terrorism legislation for silencing dissent and crackdown on human rights activities;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.


• President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: +90 (312) 525 58 31. Email: contact@tccb.gov.tr
• Minister of Justice, Mr. Abdülhamit Gül. Email: info@adalet.gov.tr. Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70
• Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu. Email: diab@icisleri.gov.tr; sti@icisleri.gov.tr
• Ambassador Mehmet Kemal Bozay, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50. Email: info@turkdeleg.org; tr-delegation.eu@mfa.gov.tr
• Ambassador Mr. Sadık Arslan, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email: turkey.unog@mfa.gov.tr

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Turkey in your respective country.

Geneva-Paris, March 18, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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