Enough is enough! Acquit Pınar Selek once and for all!
While heated debate over the legitimacy of the judicial system continues, the rule of law weakens with each passing day. The first day of the new year brought this news: The Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeal recently made a judicial request for the approval of Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court’s recent verdict sentencing Pınar Selek to aggravated life imprisonment.
The Turkish state requested the extradition of Selek by French authorities many months ago. This same old news from the summer of 2013 was purposefully circulated in the media just before the Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court’s request for the approval of her conviction. This latest episode demonstrates a clear intention to criminalize Pınar Selek. It is clear that Selek aimed to be criminalized with old news before the public once again just before the request of Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court.
As is well known, the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court has acquitted Pınar Selek of all charges on three separate occasions, in 2006, 2008, and 2011.
The Court’s final ruling of acquittal was revoked by an interim decision at a time when the Chief Judge of the Court was on medical leave. The recall was made by a newly appointed Chief Judge and another judge who previously voted for the approval of Selek’s acquittal. Thus, Selek’s final acquittal was revoked even before the Supreme Court appeal hearing, in an act of disregard for procedural and criminal law. Afterwards, Pınar Selek was sentenced to life imprisonment irrespective of the dissenting opinion of the Chief Judge of the Court.
The rulings of acquittal on three occasions transformed into a verdict of life imprisonment in just two court hearings, without any new evidence or developments against the prior acquittal rulings.
Pınar Selek was incriminated in relation to the Spice Bazaar explosion only after a suspect gave a testimony to the police stating that, “We planted the bomb together.” This same suspect later recanted his statement and declared that his testimony was extracted under torture. He was later acquitted of all charges along with Pınar. His acquittal decision was not appealed by the prosecutor and was confirmed. In that same case, the prosecutor appealed the acquittal of Pınar based on the testimony of the same suspect acquitted of all charges and who rejected his previous statement of confession that the two carried out the bomb together.
Thus, Pınar Selek, who was not asked a single question about the explosion, became the only suspect convicted in this case! This example signifies how Pınar Select has been blatantly targeted.
Upon the approval of the other suspect’s acquittal, he cannot legally be treated as a suspect in the case. But, by adding the statement “he had the earned right” in the ruling, they tried to give the impression that he was on trial along with Pınar. However, it is legally impermissible for him to be charged with a crime. Associating his name with Pınar Selek was solely intended to influence and mislead public opinion.
In the mean time, expert reports in the Spice Bazaar case confirmed that the explosion was caused by a gas leak. Although the forensic evidence and analysis concluded that there was no criminal conduct, the system strived to create a criminal. Pınar Selek was criminalized even before the construction of this crime.
All these acts of injustice have aimed to turn a peace activist into a mass murderer in the eyes of the public. Rather than put an end to the injustice that has wounded the public’s conscience, the Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals inexplicably revoked the recent ruling of acquittal and made a judicial request to approve Pınar Selek’s sentencing to aggravated life imprisonment.
It is the responsibility of the judicial authorities to stand against all kinds of injustice, to make decisions based not on political considerations but on legal grounds and to provide relief for the damaged public conscience by promoting justice. Justice is more important than ever in an era where we are witnessing various dirty games in the name of political power struggles. Yet, nobody is secure in a country where the law is disregarded.
We would like to preserve our trust in justice as we did throughout the 16-year trial and persecution of Pınar Selek. Thus, we urgently reiterate our request to fix this huge and terrible mistake. We demand Pınar Selek to be acquitted once and for all.
Pınar Selek Solidarity Committee-Turkey