Turkey: Outrage following the conviction of Pinar Selek to life imprisonment
PRESS RELEASE - THE OBSERVATORY
TURKEY: Outrage following the
conviction of Pinar Selek to life imprisonment
January 25, 2013. Yesterday, Ms. Pinar
Selek was sentenced to life imprisonment on terrorism-related charges. 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), which sent observers to several of the hearings, is deeply
shocked by the outcome of this 15-year long judicial harassment.
January 24, 2013, Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 12 convicted and sentenced to
life imprisonment Ms. Pinar Selek, a writer and sociologist who has been
actively defending the rights of vulnerable communities in Turkey, for
allegedly causing a bomb to explode in Istanbul’s Egyptian bazaar on July 9,
1998 and membership in a terrorist organisation. The Court argued that it had
decided to defer to the Court of Cassation's request to convict and sentence
Ms. Pinar Selek to life imprisonment.
The Observatory recalls that,
in 1998, Ms. Pinar Selek was in turn accused without proof of supporting the
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and then of causing a bomb to explode in
Istanbul’s Egyptian bazaar on July 9 of the same year. On the basis of these
accusations, she was detained during two years and subjected to torture and
ill-treatment, until her provisional release in 2000. Istanbul Heavy Penal
Court No. 12 acquitted her on three occasions: in 2006, 2008, and 2011.
Notwithstanding, the Prosecutor constantly appealed against the acquittal
before the Court of Cassation, which quashed the acquittal decisions.
The Observatory recalls that
the criminal case failed to demonstrate that Ms. Pinar Selek was involved in
any terrorism-related activity. Indeed, court’s investigations largely
confirmed the absence of any bomb and attributed the explosion to a gas leak;
in addition the other defendant in the case who had accused her during
interrogation withdrew his statement during the trial.
Over the course of its
monitoring of the trial, the Observatory noticed a series of irregularities
both to domestic law and to international human rights standards. A judicial
observation note will be published shortly.
am deeply shocked by this verdict. This is a parody of justice”,
denounced Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.
case is unprecedented”, added Gerald Staberock, OMCT
Secretary General. “We firmly condemn
this decision, and call upon the judiciary authorities of Turkey to review it
immediately”, he concluded.
More generally, the
Observatory further reiterates its call on the Turkish judicial authorities to
review its last decision and put an end to the uninterrupted harassment that
has been targeting Ms. Pinar Selek for more than 14 years, as it seems to
merely aim at sanctioning her for her legitimate exercise of the freedom of
opinion and expression.
For further information, please
Audrey Couprie / Arthur Manet: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
• OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: + 41 22
809 49 39