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Leaders Attend Healthcare Worker's Trial In Turkey

11 March 2002


World Medical Association leaders are to attend the opening of the trial in Turkey next week of a health worker accused of establishing a treatment centre for torture victims without permission.

WMA President Dr Enrique Accorsi, from Chile, and past WMA chairman Dr Anders Milton, from Sweden, are to attend the trial of Sezgin Taurikula, a representative of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, at the Diyarbakir Penal Court on Tuesday 19 March.

The trial follows last year's raid on the Foundation's Diyarbakir treatment centre, when patients' photos and files were siezed by the authorities. Two doctors working at the centre were exiled to other parts of the region and the centre was accused of aiding and sheltering members of a terrorist organisation. The Foundation's refusal to pay a fine and admit guilt to establishing the centre without permission led to next week's trial.

WMA secretary general Dr Delon Human, said that by sending its top leaders to Turkey, the WMA was demonstrating how seriously it took this matter.

"Dr Accorsi has an impeccable record of fighting against human rights abuses in Chile and is well-known in Turkey. We will also be sending official letters to the President of Turkey and the other relevant officials and to the Turkish Mission in Geneva protesting about this trial.

"It is vital that physicians around the world are allowed to treat patients without harassment and to provide medical care to patients, regardless of their race, religion or political affiliation. The WMA's Declaration on the Right of the Patient states explicitly that every person is entitled without discrimination to appropriate care, and physicians and healthcare workers in Turkey, as in any other country, should be free to treat patients irrespective of their political affiliations."


For further information please contact:

Nigel Duncan: WMA Public Relations Adviser (+44) 0207 383 6113 (office), 0208 997 3653 (home) 07990 542 026 (mobile), (e-mail)

Dr Delon Human Secretary General 00 33 607 1641 77 (mobile), 00 33 450 40 75 75 (office)


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