2013-01-24 N/A

Date: 
January 24, 2013
Type: 
Prosecution
Status: 
Verified
New/Ongoing: 
Ongoing Incident
Region/Sub-region: Country or Territory: 
Institution: 
N/A

A prominent Turkish sociologist, Pinar Selek, was sentenced to life in prison by the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and aiding and abetting in a bomb explosion in the Istanbul Spice Bazaar in 1998 that killed seven people. Ms. Selek has been prosecuted for these crimes on several previous occasions. In June 2006 the Istanbul 12th Heavy Criminal Court declined to make a ruling after all the prosecution’s witnesses recanted their statements. After successive remands from the Court of Cassation, Ms. Selek was acquitted twice by the Istanbul 12th Heavy Criminal Court in May 2008 and February 2011. In connection with her recent conviction, the Turkish authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Selek who has been living in France as a doctoral candidate at the University of Strasbourg.

Ms. Selek has consistently maintained her innocence.  She alleges that she was chosen as a target because of her scholarly research on the Kurdish issue in Turkey, for which she was detained and tortured in 1998. During that initial detention, she was reportedly informed that a suspect in the bombing had named her as an accomplice. That suspect later stated in court that he had given that testimony under torture and did not know the scholar. Further, several forensic experts have testified that the explosion was actually the result of a gas leak, not a bomb.

Pınar Selek's lawyer father Alp Selek has appealed against the life time imprisonment sentence.

Update: On June 10, 2014, Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals overturned Selek's sentence, although the charges against her remained intact. 

Sources:
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-supreme-court-of-appeals-overtu...
http://www.kazete.com.tr/haber_Pinar-Selek-davasi-temyizde_922.aspx
http://www.awid.org/eng/Library/Turkey-Sociologist-Pinar-Selek-sentenced-to-life
http://www.france24.com/en/20130124-pinar-selek-turkey-france-pkk-kurds-armenian-genocide-justice

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/us-turkey-trial-idUSBRE90N0UF2...
http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=102373