Pınar Selek

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Pınar Selek
Pinar Selek par Claude Truong-Ngoc 2013.jpg
Pınar Selek in January 2013
Born Istanbul, Turkey
Occupation Sociologist, Author
Nationality Turkish
Alma mater Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, University of Strasbourg
Subject Minority rights, Kurdish issue, women's rights

Pınar Selek (born October 8, 1971) is a Turkish sociologist, feminist, and author.[1] She is known for her work on the rights of vulnerable communities in Turkey, including women, the poor, street children, sexual minorities, and Kurdish communities. She is the author of several books published in Turkish, German, and French, and is one of the founding editors of Amargi, a Turkish feminist journal.[2] She currently resides in France.

Selek has been prosecuted over a 15-year period in Turkey in connection to an explosion that occurred at the Spice Bazaar, Istanbul in 1998. Tried and acquitted of all charges on three occasions (in 2006, 2008, and 2011), her most recent acquittal was amended in November 2012 by the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 12, which sentenced her to life in prison on January 24, 2013.[3][4] Selek's lawyers have appealed the verdict and announced plans to bring her case before the European Court of Human Rights.[5]

Education[edit]

Selek attended the French-language high school Lycée Notre Dame de Sion Istanbul and completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in the sociology department at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in political science at the University of Strasbourg.

Arrest, imprisonment, and release, 1998-2000[edit]

Pınar Selek was arrested on July 11, 1998, in connection to an explosion that had occurred two days prior at the Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, which had killed seven people and wounded approximately 100 others.[6] The arrest is widely considered to have been motivated by her contact with Kurds as part of her academic research.[7][8] Her work was confiscated, and she refused to name the individuals she had interviewed during the course of her research.[9] Another suspect, Abdülmecit Öztürk, was arrested two weeks after Selek, and confessed to police that the two had carried out the bombing together, although he later recanted his statement and claimed that he had been tortured in police custody.[10][11] Öztürk was later acquitted of all charges, and his statement against Selek was ruled as inadmissible.[12][13]

After spending two and a half years in prison, during which time she was subject to torture and ill-treatment,[14] Selek was released on December 22, 2000, when a team of experts, including faculty from Istanbul University's Analytic Chemistry Department and Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty’s Forensic Department,[15] issued reports concluding that the explosion had been caused by the accidental ignition of a gas cylinder.[16][17] Three expert witnesses assigned by the court also testified that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.[18]

Acquittals, retrial, and sentencing, 2006-present[edit]

Pınar Selek and Günter Wallraff at a press conference in Strasbourg following her sentencing on January 25, 2013.

The Istanbul High Criminal Court No. 12 acquitted Selek of wrongdoing on three occasions (in 2006, 2008, and 2011), citing a lack of any evidence linking her to the blast.[19] Nonetheless, the court decided on November 22, 2012, to amend its own prior acquittal decisions and reopen her trial, a move which her defense lawyers labeled as "unprecedented in Turkish legal history."[20]

On January 24, 2013, after just over an hour of deliberation, the court sentenced her to life in prison for the 1998 spice bazaar bombing.[21] The decision was reached by majority of two to one, with the head judge in the case issuing a dissenting opinion.[22] While Selek was tried in absentia, more than 30 nongovernmental organizations and political party representatives from France, Germany, Italy, and Austria attended the hearings, and nearly 150 people protested during the trial.[23] Four observers from the University of Strasbourg, including the vice rector, also attended the trial.[24]

Support from academic institutions and international organizations[edit]

Pınar Selek (center) at a press conference in Strasbourg on January 25, 2013. The banner reads: "Freedom for research. Freedom for Pinar!!!"

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) have called on Turkish authorities to end the 14-year "judicial harassment" of Selek, calling her actions a "legitimate exercise of the freedom of opinion and expression."[25] PEN International has expressed outrage and concern and argued that the judicial campaign against Selek seeks to penalize her for her "long standing support for and work on minority groups in Turkey."[26] The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) has expressed its support for Selek and dismay at the prolonged denial of justice she has been subject to.[27] In a letter addressed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, MESA's Committee on Academic Freedom asserted that: "all of the circumstances attendant to her case suggest that Selek has been on trial for the last fourteen years for her research on the PKK in violation of her right to academic freedom."[28] Human Rights Watch has called her prosecution a "perversion of the criminal justice system and abuse of due process," and insisted that the "baseless charges should be dropped once and for all."[29] Turkish journalist Cengiz Çandar called the January 2013 ruling a "travesty" and a "disgraceful judgment."[30]

Other organizations that have voiced solidarity with Selek include Amnesty International,[31] the Transnational Work Group on Academic Liberty and Freedom of Research in Turkey,[32] the French Sociological Association [33] and the Committee of Concerned Scientists.[34]

Alain Beretz, president of the University of Strasbourg, has espoused the university's solidarity with Selek, calling her life imprisonment conviction "unjust and revolting."[35][36] At a press conference following the verdict, Selek vowed to continue her struggle for justice.[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kerem Öktem (15 September 2008), "Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey". Middle East Research and Information Project. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  2. ^ Amargi Istanbul - Pınar Selek. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  3. ^ (25 January 2013), "PıNAR SELEK SENTENCED TO LIFE". Sabah. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  4. ^ The Observatory (27 November 2012), "TURKEY: Judicial harassment of Pinar Selek continues as Istanbul Heavy Penal Court decides to amend her acquittal and request her conviction". International Federation for Human Rights. Paris-Geneva. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  5. ^ Kaya Genc (1 February 2013), "Why was this Turkish sociologist given a life sentence?". UNCUT. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  6. ^ Baran Mavzer (27 January 2013), "Pınar Selek Issued a Life Sentence after 15 Year Trial". Global Voices. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  7. ^ Editorial (2011). "Rights for all". Nature. 470 (7335): 436. Bibcode:2011Natur.470..436.. doi:10.1038/470436a. 
  8. ^ Maureen Freely (2012). "Crossing the Line". Index on Censorship. 41 (3): 56–65. doi:10.1177/0306422012456477. 
  9. ^ Erdem Güneş (24 January 2013). "Sociologist Selek handed life in prison for alleged bombing". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Baran Mavzer (27 January 2013), "Pınar Selek Issued a Life Sentence after 15 Year Trial". Global Voices. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  11. ^ International Federation for Human Rights (25 January 2013), "TURKEY: Outrage following the conviction of Pinar Selek to life imprisonment". Paris-Geneva. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  12. ^ Cengiz Çandar (28 January 2013). "Selek Case a Travesty For Turkish Judiciary". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Human Rights Watch (8 February 2011), "Turkey: Activist’s Trial a Travesty of Justice: Drop All Charges Against Pınar Selek". Istanbul. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  14. ^ International Federation for Human Rights (25 January 2013), "TURKEY: Outrage following the conviction of Pinar Selek to life imprisonment". Paris-Geneva. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Sociologist Pinar Selek sentenced lifetime prison for bombing claims". National Turk. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  16. ^ PEN International (12 December 2012), "News: TURKEY – PEN International Concerned About Pinar Selek Trial". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Turkish sociologist sentenced to life for 'terrorism'". Istanbul. FOCUS Information Agency. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  18. ^ Erdem Güneş (24 January 2013). "Sociologist Selek handed life in prison for alleged bombing". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  19. ^ World Organisation Against Torture, "Turkey: Continued judicial harassment faced by Ms. Pinar Selek". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  20. ^ International Federation for Human Rights (27 November 2012), "TURKEY: Judicial harassment of Pinar Selek continues as Istanbul Heavy Penal Court decides to amend her acquittal and request her conviction". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  21. ^ "Turkish sociologist sentenced to life for 'terrorism'". Istanbul. FOCUS Information Agency. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  22. ^ Çiçek Tahaoğlu (24 January 2013), "Pinar Selek Receives Life Sentence". Bianet. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  23. ^ "Sociologist Pinar Selek sentenced lifetime prison for bombing claims". National Turk. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  24. ^ Erdem Güneş (24 January 2013), "Pınar Selek back on trial again in absentia". Istanbul. Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  25. ^ International Federation for Human Rights (27 November 2012), "TURKEY: Judicial harassment of Pinar Selek continues as Istanbul Heavy Penal Court decides to amend her acquittal and request her conviction". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  26. ^ PEN International (12 December 2012), "News: TURKEY – PEN International Concerned About Pinar Selek Trial". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  27. ^ Peter Sluglett, Middle East Studies Association Committee on Academic Freedom (25 December 2012), "Letter Concerning Prolonged Denial of Justice for Pinar Selek". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  28. ^ Middle East Studies Association (12 December 2012). "Letters on Turkey". Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  29. ^ Human Rights Watch (8 February 2011). "Turkey: Activist’s Trial a Travesty of Justice". Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  30. ^ Cengiz Çandar (28 January 2013). "Selek Case a Travesty For Turkish Judiciary". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  31. ^ Amnesty International (22 January 2013). "Kafka in Turkish: The Pınar Selek Trial". Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  32. ^ GIT-North America (27 November 2012). "On the Case of Pınar Selek". Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ Committee of Concerned Scientists (05 April 2013). "CCS Joins Amnesty’s Campaign on Turkey’s Lack of Due Process and Free Expression for Academics". Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  35. ^ Alain Beretz (24 January 2013), "Un jugement injuste et révoltant : Pinar Selek doit vivre en chercheuse libre!". (in French). University of Strasbourg. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  36. ^ Pinar Selek website (in Turkish), "Declaration by the President of the University of Strasbourg Raising support for PhD. student Pinar Selek". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  37. ^ Pinar Selek website (in Turkish) (25 January 2013), "Freedom to Research, Freedom to Pınar!". Retrieved 26 January 2013.

External links[edit]