PRESS RELEASE THE OBSERVATORY
Turkey: Twelve years of judicial harassment against Pinar Selek
Call for international mobilisation on February 9, 2011
Paris-Geneva, January 18, 2011.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), appeals for international mobilisation to call for the acquittal of Ms. Pinar Selek, a defender of women¹s rights and the rights of minorities.
On February 9, 2011, Ms. Pinar Selek, a writer and sociologist who is an active defender of the rights of women, disadvantaged communities and the victims of discrimination, including street children and the Kurd and Armenian minorities, will again appear on trial before the Twelfth Chamber of the Istanbul High Criminal Court. Criminal proceedings against the Human Rights defender have continued since 1998.
In turn accused without proof of supporting the Kurdistan Workers¹ Party (PKK), then of causing a bomb to explode in Istanbul¹s Egyptian bazaar in 1998, Pinar Selek was imprisoned and tortured for two and a half years before being acquitted on two occasions for lack of evidence by the Twelfth Chamber of the Istanbul High Criminal Court. In fact, court¹s investigations largely confirmed the absence of any bomb and attributed the explosion to a gas leak; the defendant who had accused her during interrogation withdrew his statement during the trial. The prosecutor nevertheless appealed twice against these rulings and, the Court of Cassation twice granted his motion by annulling the first instance verdicts.
The general prosecutor of the Court of Cassation appealed against the rulings of the Court of Cassation. But on February 9, 2010, the High General Criminal Council of the Court of Cassation rejected the general prosecutor¹s appeal and in its judgment clearly stated that the ruling of the Court of Cassation was reasonable and called for a life prison sentence for Ms. Selek.
The Twelfth Chamber of the Istanbul High Criminal Court will examine the case again. If it once more decides to acquit Ms. Selek, this ruling will again be brought before the High General Criminal Council of the Court of Cassation. The rights of Pinar Selek have been flouted for the last twelve years and she is neither able to lead a normal life nor to continue her human rights defence activities.