Turkish sociologist and writer Pinar Selek faced another hearing in her trial over a deadly 1998 explosion in Istanbul. Selek, who is currently living in France, was not present at the trial. The presiding judge stated that the arrest warrant for Selek remained active. The next hearing has been scheduled for June 28. Selek is known for her research on the Kurdish conflict in Turkey and her work with street children.
During the hearing, Selek’s supporters protested outside the courtroom, while international observers, including diplomats and a French lawmaker, attended the proceedings. Critics argue that the case against Selek lacks solid evidence and has been ongoing for too long.
Selek’s father, Alp Selek, who is also her defense lawyer, criticized the case, stating that it is full of fake evidence. French jurists present in the courtroom defended Selek, describing her as a symbol of the fight for democratic freedom and demanding justice and her release.
Selek was initially arrested in 1998 while studying Turkey’s Kurdish community and was accused of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). She was jailed after refusing to disclose the names of PKK members she had interviewed. Selek was eventually charged in connection with an explosion at Istanbul’s spice market that resulted in seven deaths and numerous injuries.
Selek has been acquitted four times in previous trials. She settled in Germany before relocating to France, where she gained citizenship in 2017. Selek faces a potential life sentence without parole, which could prevent her from returning to Turkey.
PEN America, an organization advocating for writers’ freedoms, has called on the Turkish government to dismiss all charges against Selek, stating that the persecution against her stems from fear of her ability to amplify marginalized voices through her research on minority rights and Kurdish communities.