Bülent Şık Sentenced to 1 Year, 3 Months in Prison

Yazar / Referans: 
Tansu Pişkin, Bianet

While bianet columnist and food engineer Asst. Prof. Bülent Şık has been acquitted of “provision of prohibited information”, he has been sentenced to 1 year, 3 months in prison for “disclosure of information about duty”. His sentence has not been deferred.

bianet columnist and food engineer Asst. Prof. Bülent Şık has had his third hearing in the lawsuit filed against him on the ground that he shared the findings of the project conducted by the Ministry of Health.

In his third and final hearing held at the İstanbul 2nd Penal Court of First Instance today (September 26), Bülent 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.

Şık did not accept deferment

The third hearing of Asst. Prof. Bülent Şık was attended by a large number of people, including lawyers, human rights defenders and professional organization representatives as well as Reporters Without borders (RSF) Representative to Turkey Erol Önderoğlu, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs Ahmet Şık and Oya Ersoy and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Academics for Peace.

Presenting his statement as to the accusations, Bülent Şık was asked by Presiding Judge whether he would like to accept the deferment of the announcement of the verdict. Şık answered that he did not accept it.

'Not publishing the results is a crime'

Making his defense after Şık's statement as to the accusations, lawyer Can Atalay said, "Bülent Şık fulfilled his duty as a citizen and a scientist and he used his right to freedom of expression".

Indicating that the elements of the offense charged did not arise, Atalay requested that the court rule for the acquittal of his client.

Referring to the principles of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on freedom of expression, lawyer Tora Pekin also said, "There is an intervention against the requirements of a democratic society. He could have continued his more valuable scientific production instead of occupying himself with this case. The information, for which he is put on trial, is scientific information concerning public health. Not publishing it is a crime, rather than doing so".

After the statements of the lawyers, Article 19, an international freedom of expression organization, also presented ite expert opinion as to the accusations to the court.

Prison sentence of 1 year, 3 months

Announcing her judgement after the break, the Presiding Judge has ruled that Bülent Şık shall be acquitted of "disclosing prohibited information" as the "elements of the crime did not arise". Şık was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months in prison on charge of "disclosing information about duty" on the ground of "the way in which the crime was committed, the importance and value of the subject of crime and the gravity of the intent of defendant".

Considering the attitude and behavior of Şık during the judicial process, the court has ruled that his prison sentence shall be reduced by one sixth.

That being the case, Asst. Bülent Şık has been sentenced to 1 year, 3 months in prison. The prison sentence of Şık has not been deferred "on the ground that he did not make any statements indicating regret".

What happened?

bianet columnist and food engineer Asst. Prof. Bülent Şık faces 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. (TP/SD)

Source: http://bianet.org/english/health/213609-bulent-sik-sentenced-to-1-year-3...