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The case of the Turkish Psychiatrist Dr. Alp Ayan

TURKIYE INSAN HAKLARI VAKFI - HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF TURKEY

Menekse 2 Sok., No.16/11, 06440, Kizilay/Ankara
Phone: +90-312-417 71 80
Fax: +90-312-425 45 52
E-mail:
tihv@tr.net
Website: www.tihv.org.tr

To the Press and Public Opinion

Grotesque Trial against Human Rights Defenders continued on the Human Rights Day!

The last session of the trial against a group of human rights defenders including Dr Alp Ayan, who is the psychiatrist of HRFT Izmir Center, on the ground of Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code was held at the Izmir Heavy Penal Court No. 5 today at 11:45 am.

In the hearing today, the court decided to postpone the trial once again to March 3, 2004, 10 AM, due to the decision to gather some lacking files and to detain accused Gonca Coban, who hasn’t shown up and testified so far.

Background:

In 2001, a group of human rights defenders, including Dr. Alp Ayan the psychiatrist and staff member of HRFT Izmir Center, made a press statement. It was in order to protest the prison operations and human rights violations taking place in the F-Type Prisons. In the press statement under consideration, it was stated that the prison operations were a massacre and that the Ministry of Justice as well as the gendarmeries were responsible for this. Izmir Public Prosecution office regarded such expressions as insulting to the Ministry of Justice and the Military Forces of the State (gendarmeries); then, opened a trial against Dr. Alp Ayan and other defendants on the ground of violating the Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code. The trial was first held at the Heavy Penal Court. Then, the trial was conveyed to the Penal Court of First Instance after the Heavy Penal Court declared that the case is beyond its jurisdiction, by taking into account the latest amendment made in the Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code (according to the amendment, the article under consideration has been removed from the jurisdiction of the Heavy Penal Court). Based upon the fact that the amendment took place after the offense was committed, the Penal Court of First Instance, on the other hand, claimed that the case is under the jurisdiction of the Heavy Penal Court. Henceforth, the case was conveyed to the Supreme Court on 24 April 2003 for the jurisdictional conflict to be solved. Having evaluated the file during this period of time, the Supreme Court adjudicated that the Heavy Penal Court should be the one responsible for hearing the case.

The previous session was held at the Izmir Heavy Penal Court of First Instance No. 5 on 22 October 2003 at 9:30 am. The court decided to hold the next session on December 10, 2003, in order to gather some lacking defenses.

The following observers and supporters joined the session:

  • Torben Lund, Member of the European Parliament
  • Dr. Inge Genefke, Founder and Ambassador of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), Chairperson of the Section of the Psychological Consequences of Torture and Persecution of World Psychiatric Association (WPA)
  • Poul Struve Nielsen, Media Coordinator of International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT),
  • Elsa Le Pennec, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)
  • Metin Bakkalci, Vice President of Turkish Medical Association and Medical Coordinator of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  • Dr. Fatih Surenkok, Chairperson of Izmir Medical Chamber
  • Prof. Dr. Can Cimilli, Member of the Central Executive Committee of Psychiatry Association of Turkey
  • Dr. Halis Ucar, General Secretary of the Izmir Branch of the Psychiatry Association of Turkey
  • Ozlem Yilmaz, Member of the Executive Board of Izmir Bar Association
  • Nalan Erkem, Member of the Executive Board of Izmir Bar Association

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