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Faruk Yarman


Turkish Engineer Faruk Yarman Acquitted on Appeal and Released from Prison
October 15, 2013
On October 9, 2013, Dr. Faruk Yarman, an MIT-trained Turkish engineer, was acquitted on appeal and released from Silivri prison. He had been in prison since his arrest in August 2011 as part of the large “Operation Sledgehammer Coup” trial. At the time of his arrest, Dr. Yarman was the general manager of a state-owned software and information technology defense company, Havelsan, one of two leading defense industry companies in Turkey. Dr. Yarman (one of only two nonmilitary defendants in the Sledgehammer trial) was accused, along with 326 current and retired members of the military, of planning a coup in 2003 to overthrow the Justice and Development Party government.
Dr. Yarman was convicted by a panel of 3 judges on September 21, 2012, and sentenced to 13 years and 4 months in prison. (Thirty-six defendants were acquitted; three had their verdicts postponed.) Those convicted appealed the verdict and also petitioned the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. On July 5, 2013, the Working Group’s opinion was announced. It concluded that the deprivation of liberty of the accused was arbitrary and in contravention of several articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On October 9, 2013, the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned Dr. Yarman’s conviction and that of 88 other defendants. (The court upheld the convictions of 237 defendants and the previous acquittal of 36 defendants.) In its ruling regarding Dr. Yarman, the court said there was no “adequate, concrete, convincing evidence to sentence the defendant.”
The CHR and the H.R. Network undertook Dr. Yarman’s case shortly after his arrest. In February 2013, three delegates, representing the CHR and the Human Rights Committee of the German National Academy of Sciences—Leopoldina, undertook a fact-finding mission to Turkey during which they met with Dr. Yarman in Silivri high security prison. Dr. Yarman spoke to the delegates in detail about his case and said he believed his arrest was politically motivated. In their report to the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies, titled Scientists, Engineers, and Medical Doctors in Turkey: A Human Rights Mission, the delegation called for Dr. Yarman’s immediate exoneration and unconditional release on the grounds that no convincing evidence was presented to support the charges brought against him. The CHR, other members of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, and participating academies in the H.R. Network sent letters of appeal to Turkish authorities in Dr. Yarman’s behalf. Immediately following Dr. Yarman’s release, his brother, Dr. Tolga Yarman, sent the CHR and the H.R. Network a warm note of gratitude: “I extend, dear Carol, to yourself, to dear Peter Diamond, and to dear Hans-Peter Zenner, our deep gratitude, once again, for the wonderful care and sensitivity you have developed toward a totally nonsense case, [Faruk], and many others were the victims of."
For further information on Dr. Yarman’s case, please see the report, Scientists, Engineers, and Medical Doctors in Turkey: A Human Rights Mission.