A Turkish investigator was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for revealing cancer risks from toxic pollution in western Turkey, a sentence defined as a "parody of justice" by Amnesty International (AI).
Bulent Sik was convicted of "disclosing confidential information," AFP news agency said. In 2018, this researcher unveiled the results of a study conducted between 2011 and 2015 with other scientists for the Ministry of Health, linking soil, water and food toxicity with high cancer rates in several provinces of the world. west of the country.
Following these conclusions, he wrote several articles for the Cumhuriyet daily after finding that the Government was not taking action.
The study "clearly reveals to what extent water resources were contaminated by toxic substances," Sik told the media after the verdict. However, it will remain free until the appeal is completed.
"The court ruling demonstrates that the results of a study directly related to public health can be disguised. This is unacceptable," he added.
Human rights and environmental groups accuse the government of not enforcing environmental regulations despite the industrial drive in various regions of the country.
The Dilovasi industrial zone, about 80 kilometers from Istanbul and home to numerous chemical and metallurgical plants, was particularly cited in the report for reporting cases of cancers far above the international average.
"Instead of pursuing warnings through the courts, the Turkish authorities should look into this important public health problem," Andrew Gardner, an Amnesty International expert in Turkey, told AFP.
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