ARTICLE 19 has joined hundreds of academics, scientists and human rights campaigners to condemn the sentencing of Dr Bülent Şık to 15 months in prison for revealing public health risks in a Cumhuriyet newspaper article published in 2018. Sentenced in September 2019, Dr. Şık has since appealed his conviction and is awaiting a hearing at the Turkish Court of Appeals, which could happen at any time.
The letter asks “scientists and academics around the world to condemn the Turkish Ministry of Health and academic institutions in Turkey that deliberately target academic freedom and freedom of speech”. The signatories also calls upon the judges at the Court of Appeals to nullify his conviction.
At the time of Şık’s sentencing, Sarah Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia at ARTICLE 19 said, “Bülent Şık’s conviction is yet further evidence of the erosion of the rule of law and judicial independence in Turkey. The charges brought against Şık are manifestly ungrounded and gross violations of his right to freedom of expression and his academic freedom.
Furthermore, the content of the article for which he is charged, raising public health and environmental issues, are matters of public interest, which means they are subject to higher protections in law. It is ironic that the State both denies the veracity of the information revealed by Şık, and simultaneously accuses him of revealing state secrets.”
Read and sign the letter here.