Ozan Devrim Yay is an academic and human rights defender. He also serves as the co-president of the Eskişehir based Yaşam Bellek Özgürlük Derneği (Life Memory Freedom Association). Nine legal investigations were launched against him due to his activism, seven of which became lawsuits. He is a signatory of the “We will not be party to this crime” statement waiting to be returned to his post at the university. He was removed from all scientific projects he was conducting and was not allowed take part in any for the past three years.
Environmental engineer Ozan Devrim Yay is an active member of civil society and struggle for rights movements since 2000. He served as Eskişehir Representative of the Chamber of Environmental Engineers, Workplace Representative of Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim Sen) at Anadolu University. He has been a member of Yaşam Bellek Özgürlük Derneği since 2010 and currently serves as the co-president of the association.
Yaşam Bellek Özgürlük Derneği is one of the leading human rights organizations in Eskişehir. They not only monitor human rights but also work on environment, nature and animal rights. They monitor and document human rights violations for organizations that do not have a presence in Eskişehir. At the domestic level, the association is a member of the Language Rights Monitoring and Documentation Network.
Yay was a faculty member at the Environmental Engineering Department of Anadolu University from 1997 to 2017. He went through two administrative investigations during his post at the university for protesting the violence exerted on students by the private security company and for signing the Academics for Peace petition. He received an official reprimand for protesting against the security guard and the police, but the decision was overturned at the administrative court. As a signatory to the petition, he was suspended on August 5, 2016 and his contract with the university was not renewed. He was discharged from his assistant professor position at the Environmental Engineering Department of Anadolu University on February 7, 2017 with the Decree Law 686. He was not brought back to his position although he won the administrative case against him and the supporting Constitutional Court decision in favor for him to get his position back.
Nine legal investigations were launched against him due to his activism, seven of which became lawsuits. In the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, he participated in protests against the changing the unions of public servants law and the 4+4+4 education system, where he represented Eğitim-Sen, and was tried for organizing and participating in an unlawful demonstrations in violation of the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations. He acquitted of all charges in these three cases.
Yay was tried on June 16, 2017 for having participated in the support rally, organized by Eğitim-Sen, for Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça who were on the 100th day of their hunger strike. He was accused of violating the State of Emergency Law. He acquitted of charges against him on February 23, 2018. The decision was taken to court of appeal by the prosecutor.
Yay was detained following a 4-hour search at his house on May 11, 2017 and kept under custody for a week during which an indictment accusing him of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for an organization more than once” was drafted against him. His social media posts, books found at his house and a meeting with an inmate, which he undertook for an association concerning an alleged violation of rights, were among proofs presented against him. Yay acquitted from the aforementioned case seen at the 4th Assize Court and awaits the decision from the appeal process.
In the first of the video series about the violation of the right to a fair trial by the Life Memory Freedom Association, the relationship between the police report and the prosecutor’s indictments is discussed through a case in which Ozan Devrim Yay was put on trial. You can watch the video in Türkish here.