Having acted as the Chairman of the Van-Hakkari Medical Chamber during 2020-2022, Hüseyin Yaviç, the current physician in charge of applications at the Van Representative Office of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, is also a relative of a victim of police brutality. He was charged with creating propaganda for an illegal organization because he attended Newroz celebrations in 2006. He was given 10 months in prison but the sentencing was delayed. He is currently facing two separate trials for defiance of Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations.
Hüseyin Yaviç was born in Ağrı in 1980 and is the relative of a police brutality victim. The process that determined his fate began when his family migrated to Istanbul in 1991. Four years later, on February 15, 1995, his cousin Rıdvan Karakoç went missing under custody. 34-year-old Rıdvan Karakoç was working with Kurdish political parties for art and culture institutions. After a persistent search that lasted for 110 days, his body was found in the Altınşehir Common Grave displaying marks of torture. The perpetrators have not yet been penalized even though it has been 27 years. The loss of his cousin was formative in Yaviç’s current struggle for rights.
Yaviç got into the Medical Faculty of Van Yüzüncü Yıl University in 1999 and started his career as a practicing physician in 2006. He served respectively as the supreme board delegate, secretary general, and chairman of the Van-Hakkari Medical Chamber. He took part in joint work with NGOs and professional organizations such as the Van Bar Association, the Human Rights Association, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the Confederation of Public Employee’s Union (KESK). He is working as the physician in charge of applications for the Van Representative Office of the Human Rights Foundation for Turkey since 2021. He is also a member of the Van Office of the Human Rights Association and the Van Environmental and Historical Artifacts Preservation Association.
A lawsuit has been filed against Yaviç based on the allegations of “creating propaganda for an illegal organization” for having attended Newroz celebrations in 2006. The 10-month prison sentencing by the court was then delayed. In 2007, he was dismissed from public service due to this delayed sentencing. He was able to get back his job when he won the administrative suit he filed. The Ministry of Health was ordered to pay him damages. However, after the attempted coup of July 15th, he was once again dismissed from public service through the Legislative Decree (KHK). His plea to the Inquiry Commission on the State of Emergency Measures (OHAL) was denied. His file is currently pending.
Hüseyin Yaviç has been prohibited to make any public statements or attend any demonstrations and marches in Van since 2006. He has been detained countless times between the years 2020-2022, during which he served as the medical chamber chair.
On October 23rd, 2021, Dr. Rümeysa Şen was killed in a traffic accident while going home after a shift of 36 hours. There were countrywide press statements being held after a call by the Turkish Medical Association (TTB). The press statement in Van was planned to take place in front of the Yüzüncüyıl University Medical Faculty on October 25th, 2021. When the participants arrived in front of the university, they saw that the police had taken extraordinary measures. Despite negotiations, they were prohibited from having a press statement based on the governorship’s ban on demonstrations and activities. Hüseyin Yaviç, the Chairman of the Van-Hakkari Medical Chamber at that time, and Sevim Çiçek were detained. They endured maltreatment in custody and Yaviç faced assault. The memorial and press statement in question was held in nearly all cities from east to west of Turkey, and it was only banned in Van. Yaviç and Çiçek were released after their statements were taken at the police station.
On February 8th, 2022, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) called for a nationwide strike to draw attention to the problems faced by health workers. The press statement to be held in front of the Van Training and Research Hospital was banned as other demonstration bans in Van were given as an excuse. Hüseyin Yaviç, and Van-Hakkari Medical Chamber board member Dr. Ayfer Bostan were battered and taken into custody along with six health workers that were members of the Trade Union of Employees in Public Health and Social Services (SES). Yaviç documented his assault during detention with a hospital report.
Yaviç was charged with “defiance of Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” as a result of his two detentions. The first hearing of the trial for the demonstrations held on October 25th, 2021, took place at the Van 4th Criminal Court of First Instance on May 26th, 2022 - the 2013th day of the demonstration ban in Van.
A verdict of non-prosecution was reached about Yaviç’s complaints of law enforcement officers for assaulting him in both instances of being detained.
Following the lawyers’ statement based on the expert report in the second hearing held on October 18th, 2022, the court adjourned the hearing until January 26th, 2023.
In the third hearing, after the defenses, the court decided to send the file to the prosecutor's office for the preparation of the opinion, and postponed the trial to 12 April 2023.
On December 2, 2022, a group of health workers, including Hüseyin Yavic, began to be tried again on the charge of "opposing the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations No. 2911".
In the second hearing of the case, which was held at the Van 1st Criminal Court of First Instance, on 17 February 2023, after the defenses were received, the court decided to exclude the defendants from the hearings and sent the file to the prosecution to prepare its opinion on the merits.
At the third hearing on March 31, 2023, the lawyers repeated their request for acquittal, stating that they would make their detailed defense after the opinion on the merits. Defenses were taken at the hearing on September 15, 2023, and the case was postponed to March 8, 2024.
In the fourth hearing on April 12, 2023, of the lawsuit filed due to the press statement to be made in Van on October 25, 2021 regarding the death of Dr. Rümeysa Berin Şen, Hüseyin Yavic said that he repeated his previous defenses. Yaviç reminded that the commemoration event, which is intended to be held in many parts of the country, is banned only in Van. The court decided to send the file to the prosecution to prepare its opinion on the merits and adjourned the case to 18 September 2023.
The prosecutor, who presented his opinion at the decision hearing on September 18, referred to the statement in Article 34 of the Constitution, "Everyone has the right to organize unarmed and unassaulted meetings and demonstrations without prior permission" and the relevant Constitutional Court decisions; He demanded acquittal, emphasizing that the press release in question was a right that did not require prior notice. The court found the justification in the opinion justified and decided that Hüseyin Yaviç and Sevim Çiçek should be acquitted.