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Turkish Medical Doctor Found Not Guilty

In a decision reached on Thursday, December 30, 1999, Turkish medical doctor Cumhur Akpinar was found not guilty of "aiding an illegal organization [Association for Solidarity with the Relatives of Arrested Prisoners and for Human Rights] via preparing forensic reports under Article 169 of the Turkish penal code." Dr. Akpinar is a forensic medical specialist at the Ankara branch of the State Forensic Medicine Institute, a clinic affiliated with the Turkish Ministry of Justice. He was arrested in January 1999, released on March 5 after an initial trial, and acquitted on December 30 following a final hearing.

Dr. Akpinar examined individuals who claimed to have been tortured while in detention and wrote forensic reports on his findings. Both the Central Council of the Turkish Medical Association and the Ankara Medical Chamber publicly and actively protested Dr. Akpinar's arrest on the grounds that he had been charged for having "performed his duty in line with the ethical principles of the profession." In a demonstration of concern, some 100 Turkish physicians attended Dr. Akpinar’s trial.

The Turkish Medical Association has expressed its gratitude for the international collegial support it received from groups such as Physicians for Human Rights (which sent an observer to the trial) and the CHR. Institutions involved with the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies also intervened in Dr. Akpinar’s behalf.