Saturday, October 24, 2015

US Reacts to #Gezi Sentences: Unacceptable to prosecute medical professionals

Yesterday was another day that will be remembered as a very dark black day for Turkey's democracy.

Let's look: ''A local court in Istanbul has sentenced 244 participants in the 2013 Gezi protests to jail time for a range of crimes, including “polluting a mosque.”

The 55th Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul on Oct. 23 sentenced 244 of 255 defendants to between two months, 15 days and one year, two-months 16 days’ imprisonment. Only four of the defendants were acquitted, while charges against four suspects were separated from the case file.''

Yet, this is not the worst. Here it comes: ''The four defendants who were sentenced for “polluting a mosque” were doctors who provided emergency aid to protesters in the Dolmabahçe Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan Mosque in Beşiktaş, where protesters injured in a police attack were being treated.''

AKP's judiciary succeeded sentencing doctors for treating injured protestors. This should be considered as nirvana of backsliding. When I was in Damascus in January of 2012, I visited a local hospital and chief physician described me how the Assad regime arrest medical professional just because treating protestors. I listened to Syrian doctor in awe then. Thanks to AKP government, Turkey quickly caught up with Assad's treatments. This is a big success for sure!

US: Unacceptable to prosecute medical professionals
I reached out to the State Department and asked them if they have any comments about the sentences. A State Department official sent an email said ''it is unacceptable to prosecute medical professionals for treating injured people.''

Official, who did not give any name, further stated: ''Freedoms of expression and assembly are universal human rights.  We support the right of citizens to peaceful protest.''

US State Department statements ended by calling on Turkey once more to uphold the fundamental freedoms of all its citizens: '' We call on Turkey, as we call on countries around the world, to meet the highest standards for transparency, timeliness, and fairness in the judicial system, and to uphold the fundamental freedoms of all its citizens.''

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