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RIGHTS > Pınar Selek back on trial again in absentia

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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In this file photo, activists hold banners reading ‘We are always witnesses, we are waiting for justice’ in support of Turkish sociologist Pınar Selek. EPA photo

In this file photo, activists hold banners reading ‘We are always witnesses, we are waiting for justice’ in support of Turkish sociologist Pınar Selek. EPA photo

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

A verdict is set to be reached today about sociologist Pınar Selek who is accused for bombing Istanbul’ famous Spice Bazaar in 1998, despite she was acquitted three times the court has withdrawn its own verdict last month.

“I want my acquaintance back,” Selek said in a phone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

“It is so hard express what I feel about this scandalous legal situation. It is like asking a woman how she feels after she was subjected to violence but I can tell you how I remain standing after 15 years. There is an incredible solidarity with me,” Selek said.

Along with more than 30 non-governmental organizations and political party representatives from France, human rights activists from Germany, Italy and Austria will also attend today’s hearing at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse at 10 am, Selek said.

Pınar Selek’s case has been ongoing since 1998 when she was detained in July by the Istanbul police department and after two and a half years in prison she was released in December 2000. She refused to name the people she had interviewed during her research which was focused on Kurdish issue, she underwent heavy torture and her work was confiscated.

The case was dropped by the court itself three times by time, today she will be put to dock’s seat in her absentia one more time.

Strasbourg assistant Mayor Pernelle Richardot will also be present at the court; Selek said adding that she finds solace in “an incredible support to her in France.”

As the hearing begins at 10 am Strasbourg University staff will have a strike action as a support to Selek between 11 and 12 (GMT+1).

“Everyone will gather around me, we will have a sort of forum, this is so exciting because it is a first in this university’s history,” Selek said with glee.

Strasbourg University which issued a common declaration as a support to Selek recently is sending a four people committee to observe the trial, including the vice rector of the university.

When Selek was asked Turkish public’s support to her she said it was also amazing how diversed and broad the people’s support was.

“My friends who follow my case’s hearings tell me that many fractions come together at the hearing. Conservatives, leftists, gays, every segment of society.”

On Nov. 22, 2012, Istanbul’s 12th Criminal Court, the judges of which were changed, withdrew Selek’s acquittal verdict, even though this had not been authorized. In a case that it had ruled, the court - in a scandalous decision, unprecedented not only in Turkey’s legal history but also in the legal history of the entire world - reached a second verdict and withdrew its own acquittal decision, against procedure and law and without authorization.

Selek continues her thesis in France. She says her eyes are in Turkey. “I want to return to Turkey when my thesis is completed. I love my country. I want everybody to do anything they can for me to return to my country.”

January/24/2013

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mara mcglothin

1/25/2013 12:56:12 AM

Stay put where you are MS Selek. Nothing is set in stone in Turkey. I would hate to see you imprisoned again. Find another place to live.
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