Doctor may face up to one year in prison for refusing to perform virginity test
EDİRNE - Doğan News Agency
Gürcan Altun (3R) between three months and a year in prison if found 'guilty' of neglect of duty. DHA photoA doctor who refused to perform a virginity test on three young girls aged between 10 and 13 has been charged with neglect of duty by prosecutors in Edirne and may face up to one year in prison.
The three girls live in a children's shelter, and were sent to Thrace University's Edirne Medical School Hospital to carry out an examination, upon suspicions that they had been sexually abused.
The night doctor, Gürcan Altun, asked his patients one-by-one if they knew why they were in the hospital and explained the steps of the particular medical examination.
As the girls refused to take the test, Altun filed a report sending it back to the Prosecutor's Office. However, without issuing any notification on Altun's obligation to carry out the test, the prosecutors charged Altun for "neglect of duty and misuse of legal obligation," demanding between three months and a year in prison.
Doctor quotes Children's Right Convention
Altun defended his decision at the first hearing of the trial May 9, emphasizing that both medical ethics and the U.N.'s Children's Rights Convention prevented him from forcing children to take part in an examination that they reject. He also added that such an examination may have had traumatic psychological effects on the patients.
"I asked each child if they knew why they had been [sent to the hospital]. None of them knew. I informed them of the body examination requested by the prosecutors. I spared half an hour for each patient. But the children did not want to accept the exam," Altun said.
Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Chairman Özdemir criticized the prosecutors' attitude, describing the trial as "unjustifiable." "No one can be subjected to a forced examination. Doctors can't make any intervention against the will [of their patients]. Our [colleague] reminded this once more to jurists today," Özdemir said.
In 2010, another doctor in Edirne was charged after not performing a virginity test following the refusal of the patient and her family. Nevertheless, he was acquitted after the first hearing.