EWL News

EWL delighted at acquittal of Pinar Selek - extends support for continuing struggle

[Brussels, 11 February 2011] The EWL and the EWL Coordination in Turkey are delighted at the news of the acquittal of Turkish feminist activist Pinar Selek. In June 2010, the EWL adopted an Emergency Motion at its General Assembly calling for support for Pinar Selek. The EWL and its membership will continue to extend this support through any further proceedings faced by Ms. Selek. Below, read the EWL Emergency Motion, and an article by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights on the details of her case.

EWL Emergency Motion adopted by the 2010 EWL General Assembly (Madrid, 12-13 June 2010): WITNESSING FOR PINAR SELEK TO SEEK JUSTICE

P?nar Selek, a feminist activist member of the EWL coordination for Turkey has for the past 12 years been unjustly blamed for the explosion in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. This accusation was proven to be wrong by six expert reports and declared as a gas leak. Having exhausted her domestic remedies, she will seek an appeal on 15th of June to European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the basis of torture and unfair trial. We call upon the members of the EWL to support her in her right to seek justice in the independent court, the ECHR, and to support her in this process.

Human Rights Defenders - FIDH

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), welcomes the acquittal of Ms. Pinar Selek, a defender of women’s rights and the rights of minorities.

Concerned by the unfair prosecution of Ms. Pinar Selek, a writer and sociologist who is an active defender of the rights of women, disadvantaged communities and the victims of discrimination, including street children and the Kurd and Armenian minorities, who today, February 9, 2011, again appeared on trial before the Twelfth Chamber of the Istanbul High Criminal Court, the Observatory had sent an observer to attend the opening of the trial [1].

The Court heard the preliminary observations of the defence lawyers and the prosecution called again for the conviction of Ms. Selek and her condemnation to a 36-year prison sentence without providing any argumentation. After recess, the Court announced that it had decided to acquit Ms. Selek. This decision will again have to be reviewed by the High General Criminal Council of the Court of Cassation.

The Observatory recalls that the criminal proceedings against the human rights defender have been ongoing since 1998. Lastly, on February 9, 2010, the High General Criminal Council of the Court of Cassation had called for a 36-year prison term against for Ms. Selek. The Observatory recalls that the rights of Pinar Selek have been flouted for the last twelve years and that she consequently has neither been able to lead a normal life nor to continue her human rights defence activities.

Our organisations welcome Ms. Pinar Selek’s acquittal, and thanks all the persons, institutions and organisations who have intervened in her favour.

The Observatory calls on the authorities of Turkey to put an end to this 12-year long judicial harassment against Pinar Selek in reprisal of her legitimate human rights defence activities. The Observatory also urges the Turkish authorities to order a thorough, immediate, effective and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned facts, and to comply in all circumstances with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders as well as international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Turkey.

Original version available here

Read this article in French

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Pinar Selek’s exclusive interview from Istanbul

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Interview with lawyer Martin Pradel, observer at the trial

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