Urgent Interventions

Heavy Penal Court due to issue a fourth verdict on January 24, 2013 against Pinar Selek


TURKEY: Heavy Penal Court due toissue a fourth verdict on January 24, 2013 against Pinar Selek

Paris-Geneva,December 21, 2012. Ms. PinarSelek's lawyers expect a fourth verdict will be issued by Istanbul Heavy PenalCourt No. 12 on January 24, 2013. The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for HumanRights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), which has beenfollowing these criminal proceedings since 2011, conducted a judicialobservation of the last hearing held on December 13, 2012.

After Istanbul Heavy PenalCourt No. 12, against all odds, decided on November 22, 2012 to amend itsprevious decision to acquit Ms. Pinar Selek, a writer and sociologistwho has been actively defending the rights of vulnerable communities in Turkey,in a criminal case that has been ongoing since 1998, though the decision ofthis same court to acquit Ms. Selek remained pending before the General Assemblyof the Court of Cassation – thereby violating basic procedural principles, thecourt was due to issue a new verdict. On December 13, 2012, Istanbul HeavyPenal Court No. 12 attempted to finalise the examination of the criminal casefor the fourth time.

The Observatory recalls that,in 1998, Ms. Pinar Selek was in turn accused without proof of supporting theKurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and then of causing a bomb to explode inIstanbul’s Egyptian bazaar on July 9 of the same year. On the basis of theseaccusations, she was detained during two years and subjected to torture andill-treatment, until her provisional release in 2000. The court’sinvestigations largely confirmed the absence of any bomb and attributed theexplosion to a gas leak; in addition the other defendant in the case who hadaccused her during interrogation withdrew his statement during the trial.Accordingly, Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 12 acquitted her on threeoccasions: in 2006, 2008, and for the last time on February 9, 2011.Nonetheless, following appeals by the Prosecutor, the Court of Cassationquashed the first two acquittal decisions. As of today, Istanbul Heavy PenalCourt No. 12's last decision of acquittal made in 2011 has not been examined bythe Court of Cassation and has therefore the effect of res judicata.

Ms. Pinar Selek's lawyersfiled a petition to revoke the Presiding Judge on account of “impartiality”.This motion was rejected by Istanbul Heavy Penal Court Nos. 12 and 13 and is tobe reviewed by Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 14. Ms. Pinar Selek's lawyersexpect it to be rejected for the third time and the verdict to be read onJanuary 24, 2013.

Weare concerned that Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 12 will convict Pinar Selekthis time. There is no new evidence incriminating her, no victims standingtrial, no witness. Nonetheless, the judicial system continues to be misused toprosecute her. This is tantamount to judicial harassment!”,denounced Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

Thisjudicial harassment is unprecedented. If the Court confirms this decision, wecan conclude that there is no more legal certainty in Turkey”,added Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. “We firmly condemn this decision, and call upon the judiciaryauthorities of Turkey to review it immediately”, he concluded.

More generally, theObservatory further reiterates its call on the Turkish authorities toimmediately and unconditionally put an end to the uninterrupted harassment thathas been targeting Ms. Pinar Selek for more than 14 years, as it seems tomerely aim at sanctioning her for her legitimate exercise of the freedom ofopinion and expression.

For further information, pleasecontact:

FIDH:Audrey Couprie / Arthur Manet: + 33 1 43 55 25 18

OMCT:Delphine Reculeau: + 41 22 809 49 39

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