An aggravated life imprisonment sentence was issued to famous sociologist Pınar Selek today, who is accused of bombing Istanbul’s famous Spice Bazaar in 1998 despite being acquitted three times, after the court withdrew its own verdict in November 2012.
Selek said she was shocked by the verdict.
“I am shocked by the verdict; it is the first time the court found me guilty. I have been acquitted three times before. This is a first, tomorrow I will have a press meeting,” Selek told the Hürriyet Daily news by phone.
“I know that people won’t let me be sacrificed”, Selek said.
“I want my acquittal back. It is so hard to 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 incredible solidarity with me,” Selek said today.
An arrest warrant was also issued for Selek, who has been living in Strasbourg, France pursuing her academic studies. Along with more than 30 nongovernmental organizations and political party representatives from France, human rights activists from Germany, Italy and Austria attended yesterday’s hearing at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse.
Nearly 150 people staged a protest before and during the trial. Abdülmecit Öztürk, another suspect, was also issued lifetime imprisonment.
Selek’s case has been ongoing since 1998, when she was detained in July by the Istanbul police department. Selek was detained during her studies regarding the Kurdish issue and sent to prison, where she refused to name the people she had interviewed during her research and underwent severe torture in addition to her work being confiscated. After two and a half years in prison, she was released in December 2000.
Despite the guilty verdict issued today, the chief judge expressed his dissenting opinion.
In its June 2000 report, Istanbul University’s Analytic Chemistry Department wrote, “The prosecutor’s report is not scientific, it is written with an intention to mislead the court. Nitrocellulose can be found in several substances, but it is not proof of the presence of a bomb.”
Similarly, in its July 2000 report, Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty’s Forensic Department also said the prosecutor’s report was not scientific, concluding, “None of the evidence matches with injuries inflicted by the explosion of a bomb.” Three expert professors assigned by the court declared the explosion was definitely due to a gas leak, not because of a bomb.