Pinar Selek, writer, sociologist, and founder of the Amargi Women’s Solidarity Cooperative, will be tried in Istanbul on February 9, 2011, on charges of which she has already been acquitted twice. If she is found guilty, she faces 36 years in prison. PEN International is seriously concerned that Selek is being subjected to a campaign of judicial harassment as a means of penalizing her for her longstanding support for minority groups in Turkey. We therefore call for the end of this pursuit of Pinar Selek and the dismissal of charges against her.

Background Information

Selek was accused of involvement in an explosion at an Istanbul market in 1998, a tragedy that led to the deaths of seven people and injuries to 127 others. She was arrested in July 1998 then freed two and a half years later after a team of experts concluded that the explosion had not been caused by a bomb, but by the accidental ignition of a gas cylinder. Despite these findings, the case against Selek and her co-defendants continued and a new trial was opened against her in December 2005. This trial ended with her acquittal six months later in June 2006.

Commentators believe that the renewed prosecution of Selek is linked to her work as a sociologist researching Kurdish issues in the mid to late 1990s, and to contact she made with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). According to PEN's sources, no evidence has been presented that shows Pelek to have been a member of the PKK or to have engaged in violent activities. It is widely believed that she is being pursued through the courts as a means of penalizing her for her legitimate research and commentary. These concerns are intensified by the allegations that Selek, during her imprisonment from 1998 to 2000, suffered torture in an attempt to make her confess to false charges.

Eugene Schoulgin, vice president of PEN International, will be attending the trial.

Write A Letter

  • Expressing concern that another trial has been opened against Pinar Selek on charges of which she has already been acquitted twice;
  • Urging that the charges against Selek be dismissed.

Send Your Letter To

Mr Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay
Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representatives for Turkey in your country if possible.