Hautala Welcomes Acquittal of Human Rights Advocate, Ms Pinar Selek

Chairwoman has received with delight the news that Ms Pinar Selek has been acquitted in proceedings against her. Grave discontent remains, however, over the remaining ongoing proceedings. Chairwoman underlines that the ongoing prosecution of Ms Selek stands in stark violation of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. [:]


Her persecution is a travesty of justice and this is a good moment to put a stop to it, Ms Hautala stressed.


We have now had a result from the third attempt to convict Ms Seled for carrying out a lethal bombing, despite substantial evidence that there was first of all no bombing and secondly, that the explosion was the result of a gas leak, Ms Hautala recalled. It is plain to see that she is being targeted for her human rights work, Chairwoman added.


The Twelfth Chamber of the Istanbul High Criminal Court heard Ms Selek’s case again on 9th of February and after the presentation of the preliminary observations by the prosecution and defence the Court announced that it had come to a decision to acquit Ms Selek. The decision by the Court holds in deep contrast the demands of the prosecution that Ms Selek be found guilty and sentenced to 36 years of imprisonment. The decision of acquittal by the Court will not, however, be a final verdict on the case of Ms Selek as the ruling will be reviewed by the High General Criminal Council of the Court of Cassation.


Ms Selek is renowned human rights advocate who has taken up the cause of women, children and minorities in particular. She has suffered of persecution and judicial harassment for 12 years, since the 1998 deadly explosion in Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar killing seven people that the prosecution alleges she was involved in. Throughout these years her ability to carry out her work in the human rights field and lead a private life has been severely hampered.