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The Trial

The Anatomy of a Cancel Campaign 

“Silence is death, and you, if you talk, you die, and if you remain silent, you die. So, speak out and die.”

“Le silence, c’est la mort, et toi, si tu te tais, tu meurs et si tu parles, tu meurs. Alors dis et meurs!”

Tahar Djaout – Algerian journalist

On June 1, 2020, I became the target of a premeditated and carefully orchestrated cancel campaign in Turkey. The false allegations made in a series of nine tweets were amplified by pro-government media which branded me a “terrorist pervert”, among other things. At the end of a protracted legal battle in Sweden, I was vindicated. The Lund District Court Criminal Division found the perpetrator of these allegations guilty on 6 counts of gross defamation and 1 count of defamation (out of total of 11 counts) on October 13, 2021 (B6460-20). This decision was slightly revised, but upheld by the Court of Appeals of Skåne and Blekinge which found the defendant guilty on 3 counts of gross defamation and 1 count of defamation (B3866-21). The decision entered into legal force on November 3, 2022, when the Swedish Supreme Court decided not to review the case.

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Lund university aided and abetted a politically-motivated lynching campaign in Turkey. The university enabled, indeed actively encouraged (by sharing confidential material with an online news platform with 1.7 million followers), one of their employees to slander me since 2018. It violated my right to a fair and thorough workplace investigation and my constitutional right of public access to official documents. It discriminated against me on the basis of ethnicity and gender claiming, among other things, that I — a Turkish-born Swedish citizen — could not fully adapt to the Swedish culture. It also infringed upon my intellectual property rights, and was possibly complicit in the mismanagement of public funds, “wasting” €185,857.20 that was granted as part of a Marie Curie individual fellowship, according to an official letter sent to the European Commission by the employee in question on June 8, 2020.

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My open letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Lund University

Dear Erik. You don’t know me, and nor should you. Frankly, I would prefer not to have to reach out to you this way either, putting myself under the spotlight — fully exposed to the wrath of Jantelagen — but the institution you have been presiding over since January 1, 2021 has not left me any other option. In one of your recent blog posts, you express your support for the ongoing protests in Iran and say that “Lund University stands for and protects democracy, freedom of opinion and respect for everyone’s equal value and human freedoms and rights”. I am afraid that the Lund University I know and worked at for almost a decade does anything but that … (i) Lund University is directly responsible for the financial, reputational and psychological damage I have incurred — and continue to incur — to this day; (ii) those who are complicit in this campaign of harassment have not been held accountable for their gross misconduct; (iii) my and my legal representatives’ attempts to contact the Faculty of Social Sciences to ask for an explanation have been ignored.

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Documents and evidence cited in my letter to Erik Renström, the Vice-Chancellor of Lund University, Sweden. The letter itself was sent to on 26 January 2023. The Office of the Vice-Chancellor replied to this letter on February 6, 2023. Both the original letter and the university’s official reply can now be accessed here.

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