Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pınar Selek: Sentenced, again.

The case of Pınar Selek, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Strasbourg, and the "released again - sentenced again" cycle of shame continues. In a previous post, we had discussed the absurdity of this case and how despite the lack of any concrete evidence, Selek trials continued. A website dedicated to Selek also contains information on the case.

The Amnesty International coverage by Howard Eissenstat today states that:

"Turkish press sources report that Pinar Selek was today found guilty and sentenced to
life imprisonment in the 1998 bombing of the Egyptian Bazaar. As we noted earlier this 
week, Selek had three times been acquitted on these same charges and there have been
on-going concerns with the weakness of the evidence in the case."

To read more from the Amnesty International, you can click here and here.

Also, for a recent MESA Committee on Academic Freedom letter on the subject--demanding justice for Selek, please click here. The letter summarizes part of her plight as follows:

"Selek was charged with membership in the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan- Kurdistan Workers’ Party) on the basis of extremely weak evidence allegedly linking her to an explosion at the Istanbul Spice Market in 1998. The sole basis for this allegation was the testimony of a single individual who retracted his statement in open court and asserted that it had been extracted under torture. Further, multiple expert reports have challenged the claim that the explosion in question was even caused by a bomb. When Selek was first taken into custody she was conducting research on the PKK and during the two years of her detention she herself was subjected to torture by interrogators who demanded that she reveal the names of her interview subjects. Indeed, 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."

Selek was interviewed on CNN Turkey, and announced that she will hold a press conference tomorrow, January 25th, at noon.

As students and professors working in diverse fields, including Ottoman and Turkish Studies in North America, we are profoundly distressed by Selek’s treatment and we stand in solidarity with her academic rights to peacefully conduct research and her individual right to a just closure to this case.