|Sir Michael Marmot|
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.'