World-Renowned Scientists Express Support for Bülent Şık

Yazar / Referans: 
Hikmet Adal, Bianet

Over 600 world-renowned scientists, including Nobel laureates, have condemned the 15-month prison sentence given to bianet columnist, food engineer Asst. Prof. Bülent Şık for sharing the results of a cancer research with the public.

Launched in support of bianet columnist, food engineer Asst. Prof. Bülent Şık, who was sentenced to 1 year, 3 months in prison on September 26, 2019 for announcing the results of a cancer research conducted by the Ministry of Health, the petition is now drawing to an end.

The campaign has been supported by over 600 prominent scientists from around the world, including Nobel-winning academics.

Among the scientists who have expressed their solidarity and support for Bülent Şık are also Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Bruce Alberts, Nancy Fraser, Elazar Barkan as well as Nobel laureates Eric Wieschaus, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Jack W. Szostak, Roald Hoffmann and Robert Curl.

"We express our solidarity with Dr. Şık who acted as a responsible scientist defending public health," the petition has said and called upon the judges at the Court of Appeals "to do what is right and nullify his conviction."

Launched on February 18, 2020, the petition also received institutional support from Article 19, PEN America, National Writers Union, Academic Solidarity Network anf Pesticide Action Network UK.

What happened?

bianet columnist and food engineer Asst. Prof. Bülent Şık faced 5-12 years of jail for releasing the findings of a research he participated in under the auspices of Ministry of Health when he worked as Deputy Director of Food Safety and Agricultural Research Centre at Akdeniz University.

The lawsuit was filed against Şık on charges of "disclosure of secrets about duty" (Turkish Penal Code Article No. 258); "provision of prohibited information" (Turkish Penal Code Article No. 334); and "disclosure of prohibited information" (Turkish Penal Code Article No. 336).

In the indictment issued by Prosecutor Gökhan Boydak from the İstanbul Terror and Organized Crimes Investigation Bureau, the article series of Bülent Şık published on Cumhuriyet newspaper have been cited as the reason for the charges brought against him.

The article series of Bülent Şık subjected to investigation were on "the Project on Assessment of Environmental Factors in the Provinces of Kocaeli, Antalya, Tekirdağ, Edirne, Kırklareli and Their Impacts on Health," the findings of which have not been published by the state officials.

The article series entitled "The state has concealed the carcinogen products, we are making them public! Here is the poison list" were published on Cumhuriyet daily newspaper for four days from April 15 to April 18, 2018.

After the articles were published on Cumhuriyet, the Ministry of Health filed a complaint against Şık. His first hearing was held on February 7, 2019.

In his third and final hearing held at the İstanbul 2nd Penal Court of First Instance on September 26, 2019,Şık has been sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison on charge of "disclosing information about duty" while he has been acquitted of "providing prohibited information".

The court has not suspended the prison sentence of Şık on the ground that "he has not regretted". The verdict of conviction will be taken to the court of appeal, which will either reverse or uphold the prison sentence. (HA/SD)