Turkey arrests medical student for treating patients in Kobane

esra-yakar1Turkey’s criminal court in the Kurdish-populated town of Diyarbakir held its second hearing in the trial of Esra Yakar, a medicine student from Dicle University’s Faculty of Medicine. The prosecutor is seeking 15 years in prison for Esra, charged with being a member of an outlawed group.

Esra Yakar volunteered in Kobane canton to assist civilians injured during the war with ISIS. She sustained injuries from a mortar fire attack, and was subsequently transferred to Turkey, where she was later arrested.

The extremist ISIS group has been fighting Kurdish forces in Kobane autonomous canton, an area in Western Kurdistan, also known as Rojava. From September 2014, ISIS seized control of the canton until January 2015, which led to the displacement of thousands of people.

Since the defeat of ISIS, the extremist group have repeatedly attempted to cause substantial damage to the city, and their inhabitants. However, US-led allied powers have backed Kurdish forces with air-power, and tipped the balance of control in their favour. Nonetheless, the number of casualties has been high among civilians, including Kurdish forces resisting on the front-lines.

Despite the canton’s 40,000 population, the number of doctors and trained professional are scarce. In October 2014, there were only four trained doctors in the canton. The Kurdish student faces imprisonment for being a humanitarian and responding to the dire pleas of help from Kobane.

These instances of Human rights violations are ignored by both the international media, and local Kurdish outlets.

Her trial is ongoing.

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