Report on the observation of the trial against Dr. Serdar Küni
NHCs Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal was part of an international delegation of trial monitors to Şırnak, Turkey. This report sets out the joint findings of two observation missions in the trial of Dr. Serdar Küni. An international delegation of trial monitors, composed of legal and medical health experts, observed the first hearing against Dr. Küni before the 2nd Heavy Penal Court on 13 March 2017 and the second hearing before the same court on 24 April 2017. The report reflects the observations of the international delegation of trial monitors and identifies several issues of concern in relation to the prosecution and fairness of the trial of Dr. Küni.
Dr. Küni is a physician based in Cizre who has provided health services in various capacities and assumed positions of responsibility in the medical profession. Following the issuance of an arrest warrant against him on 18 April 2016, Dr. Küni was subject to various charges. He was accused of assisting an armed organisation and subsequently convicted for having assisted a terrorist organisation. The case for the prosecution is based on the allegation that Dr. Küni provided medical treatment to members of a separatist terrorist organisation who had been injured in clashes with the security forces.
The prosecution of a health professional for providing medical treatment, in conformity with medical ethics, is a matter of international concern for the health profession. This prosecution has sought to criminalise the basic duties and ethics of the profession, which is in and of itself an act of intimidation and harassment. We are concerned about the precedent this case will set across the medical profession. The justification of the prosecution on what are essentially security grounds demands close scrutiny of the propriety of legal proceedings, and adherence to international fair trial standards in the case of Dr. Küni.