Renowned Turkish human rights activist Fincancı receives Hessian Peace Prize

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Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the head of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) and a doctor of forensics, on Monday accepted the Hessian Peace Prize at a ceremony in the German city of Wiesbaden, Deutsche Welle reported.

The Hessian Peace Prize, presented by the Albert Osswald Foundation in the German federal state of Hessen, is given each year to an individual who rendered outstanding service to furthering mutual understanding among countries and peace.

Fincancı was granted the award for her efforts in the rehabilitation of torture victims as well as for her research and documentation of torture, a statement from the award committee said.

Speaking at the ceremony, President of the Hessen State Parliament Norbert Kartmann said he was offering his respects to “a woman who documents torture in Turkey in cooperation with TİHV and helps torture victims.”

For her part, Fincancı said her being granted the Hessian Peace Prize was a good sign for people working on human rights.

Fincancı’s TİHV was one of the first human rights organizations established in Turkey following the 1980 military coup. She is also a leading international expert on torture documentation and a former member of the executive committee of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).

She is also a co-author of “Istanbul Protocol,” a universal work on standardizing investigation and documentation of traces of torture.

Turkish authorities on June 20, 2016 arrested Fincancı on charges of disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization, along with the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) representative Erol Önderoğlu and author Ahmet Nesin. The three had joined a solidarity campaign defending the editorial independence of Özgür Gündem, a paper aligned with Turkey’s Kurdish minority and frequently critical of the Turkish government.

Fincancı and Önderoğlu were released after 10 days. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) was part of a global campaign advocating for their release.

Fincancı was also awarded the “Human Rights Prize” by the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) in 2017 and the Hrant Dink Prize in 2014.

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