As We’re Still Witnesses Platform, we have been struggling with the State conspiracy against author and sociologist Pınar Selek and seeking seeking justice in this case for 15 years.
In a civil war era of the 1990s, Pınar Selek sought to understand the aporia of the peace process with respect to the Kurdish issue in her academic studies. An explosion occurred in the Spice Bazaar of Istanbul on July 09, 1998. Pınar Selek was taken into custody two days after the explosion. While she refused to name the individuals she had interviewed during the course of her research, her academic study was confiscated. She was exposed to serious torture, including Strappoda, which dislocated her left arm. Without being asked a single question on the Spice Bazaar case, she was arrested for allegedly being a member of an illegal organization. Istanbul Police Department labeled her as the “Spice Bazaar Bomber,” relying on Abdülmecit Öztürk’s testimony record that was taken under torture, where he said they planted the bomb together.
The Security bomb experts continually explained that it was the gas leak that caused the explosion. Even though this was also supported by the forensic evidence and analysis, Pınar Selek was incriminated in connection to the explosion. She was acquitted of all charges and released after Abdülmecit Öztürk confessed that his testimony was extracted under torture. Nevertheless, with an illegal intervention to the trial, the General Directorate of Security of Turkey inserted an unsigned and undated report to the case file with an annotation telling that that they were disturbed by Selek’s release. The report said, “The explosion is caused by a bomb. Constitute a new commission of experts!” The new scientific expert’s report again confirmed that the explosion was caused by the gas leak and Pınar Selek was acquitted on June 8th, 2006. The Supreme Court reversed the court’s judgment on the basis that there were no verdicts. The court acquitted her for the second time on May 23, 2008. Abdülmecit Öztürk acquitted of all charges along with Pınar. His acquittal decision was not appealed by the prosecutor and was confirmed. In that same case, the prosecutor appealed the acquittal of Pınar based on Abdülmecit Öztürk’s testimony, in which he rejected his previous statement of confession that the two carried out the bomb together. On February 9, 2011, Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court insisted on the acquittal and for the third time ruled for her acquittal. The prosecutor appealed to the Supreme Court again. The Court’s final ruling of acquittal was revoked by an interim decision at a time when the Chief Judge of the Court was on medical leave. In the trial on January 24, 2013, Pınar Selek was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. The Chief Judge of the Court, who has been following the case since the beginning dissented to the opinion. Afterwards, the Turkish state requested the extradition of Selek by French authorities. However, Interpol rejected the request as it did not fulfill the criteria of a red notice and decided that the request should be revoked.
While being subjected to all this unlawfulness and psychological torture, Pınar wrote a novel and many books, attended various activities around the world, and completed her PhD in Political Science at the University of Strasbourg. The Supreme Court appeal trial for Pınar Selek will be held on April 30, 2014. We seek solidarity with organizations around the world and reinforce our struggle prior to this appeal trial, which is the utmost point for the domestic law. Your signature on this call, solidarity activities you organize for Pınar Selek and your press statements make us stronger.
Ultimate acquittal, justice, freedom of expression and academic integrity is the rights for all. We demand Pınar Selek to be acquitted once and for all. We would like Pınar to be with us in her own country, living and producing with freedom!
We’re Still Witnesses Platform