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Turkey approves controversial medical aid bill despite opposition

Published on Jan 18, 2014 7:19 PM

ISTANBUL (AFP) - A controversial medical bill that makes it a crime for doctors to provide emergency first aid without government authorisation came into force in Turkey on Saturday despite an outcry from rights groups.

Under the legislation that was approved by President Abdullah Gul on Friday, those convicted could be imprisoned for up to three years and face fines of nearly US$1 million (S$1.28 million).

Critics fear it could be used to bar doctors and medical workers from treating protesters wounded in anti-government demonstrations as reportedly happened during mass street protests in June last year.

The US-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) slammed the legislation as another attempt by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to quash dissent.

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