Imprisonment of Two Young Doctors Condemned by WMA

(29.10.2015) The World Medical Association has condemned the decision of a Turkish court to imprison two young doctors for giving first aid to people injured during the Gezi Park demonstrations in Istanbul two years ago.

The two doctors were sentenced last week to 10 months imprisonment. Their crime was to give first aid to demonstrators who had taken refuge in an Istanbul mosque. They were charged with ‘fouling a temple' while delivering health care services and were included in an action brought against more than 250 people for ‘taking sides with offenders by extending first aid to demonstrators'.

WMA President Sir Michael Marmot said: ‘As members of the international medical community, we are gravely concerned at the punitive sentences that have been imposed on these two doctors. Physicians should never be punished for following their professional duty of providing care without discrimination to those in need. We have repeatedly urged the Turkish authorities to bring a halt to this inhumane situation of arresting and imprisoning health professionals who care for the sick and wounded.

‘The Turkish authorities have an obligation to respect the sacred duty of physicians to care for those in need and uphold people's right to health at all times. These young doctors were simply following international standards of medical ethics by providing emergency medical care to those who needed it.'

‘Physicians must be able to practise their profession without any fear or intimidation in Turkey and in all other parts of the world. They should be able to help anybody anywhere without any distinction. These doctors followed their belief that their first principle must be the provision of medical care and the saving of life. We urge the relevant Turkish authorities to respect these principles and reconsider these sentences.'