On 3 October 2014, representatives from the American PEN Center, Danish PEN, PEN International and PEN Turkey will be present at the 15th High Criminal Court in Istanbul as Turkish sociologist and feminist Pýnar Selek faces trial for the fifth time in 16 years over a 1998 explosion that killed seven and injured 100 in the Istanbul Spice Bazaar. Selek has been acquitted of all charges three times (in 2006, 2008 and 2011) due to the testimony of expert witnesses that claimed that the cause of the
explosion was a gas leak rather than a bomb, though courts have ordered retrials after each of these acquittals. Her fourth trial resulted in a conviction in January 2013 when Selek was handed an aggravated life sentence, although this conviction was overturned by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals on 11 June 2014 on procedural grounds. Selek has fled Turkey as a result of the judicial harassment against her and now lives abroad. PEN International calls on the Turkish courts to end Selek’s 16 year ordeal and to acquit her of all charges in the absence of any reliable evidence implicating her in the explosion.
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Please send appeals immediately:
• &n bsp; Protesting the continuing judicial harassment of Pýnar Selek after 16 years on trial and multiple acquittals;
• Calling on the Turkish authorities to acquit her of all charges and to drop the arrest warrant against her immediately, enabling her to return to Turkey without fear of arrest;
Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdað
Milli Müdafaa Caddesi No: 22
Fax: +90 312 419 33 70
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]
If possible, please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Turkey in your country and let us know of any actions you have taken and responses you receive.
Pýnar Selek is a Turkish sociologist, writer and feminist known for her work on the rights of vulnerable communities in Turkey. She has written extensively about the plight of women, the poor, street children, the LGBT community and the Kurds in Turkey. She has been published in Turkish, French and German and is one of the founding editors of Amargi, a leading Turkish feminist journal.
Commentators believe that the 16-year prosecution of Selek is linked to her work as a sociologist researching Kurdish issues in the mid-to-late 1990s, and to contact with the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). No evidence has been presented that shows Se lek to have been a member of the PKK or to have engaged in violent activities. It is widely believed that she is being pursued through the courts as a means of penalising her for her legitimate research and commentary. These concerns are intensified by the allegations that Selek, during her imprisonment from 1998-2000, suffered torture under investigation in an attempt to make her confess to the charges.
Selek’s trial has received international attention and various human rights organisations have campaigned on her behalf. She is represented in court by her father Alp Selek, who was imprisoned in the aftermath of the 1980 military coup in Turkey.
PEN representatives to observe trial
PEN has supported Pýnar Selek for a number of years in her struggle to clear her name, with centres such as PEN Turkey and German PEN having a long track record of observing her trials as does PEN International Vice-President Eugene Schoulgin.
For further information please contact Alev Yaman at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: alev.yam[email protected]
Research and Campaigns Assistant, Turkey
Writers in Prison Committee
(working days: Wednesday-Thursday)
Te l: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339