Turkey: Trial of sociologist Pinar Selek starts for the sixth time in 25 years

Turkey: Trial of sociologist Pinar Selek starts for the sixth time in 25 years
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Selek, who was arrested in 1998 over "terror" charges because of her research on PKK, has since then been also accused of being involved in an alleged bomb attack, and has been acquitted four times in the course of separate trials.

The trial of a Turkish feminist sociologist and writer who is accused of involvement in an alleged bomb attack in Istanbul 25 years earlier started for the sixth time on Friday, after she was acquitted four times in previous trials.

Pinar Selek was arrested on "terror" allegations over her academic research on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) two days after an explosion in Istanbul's Spice Bazaar on 9 July 1998 left seven people dead and over 100 injured.

She was later also charged over suspicion of involvement in a possible bomb attack linked to the explosion although Murat Başesgioglu, interior minister at the time, had stated that the cause of the explosion could be a gas leak, and a team of bomb experts said after an examination at the scene that there was no evidence that a bomb was planted.

Selek was released from custody after being incarcerated for two and a half years. She subsequently moved abroad and started studying in Strasbourg University where she received her PhD in 2014.

She was acquitted for the first time in 2006, as the court cited lack of any evidence linking her to the blast, and after the ruling was overturned by the top appeals court the trial restarted.

She was acquitted again in 2008, in 2011, and for the fourth time in 2014, the rulings overturned every time.

The first hearing of the sixth trial today was attended by several lawyers from Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, and lawyers from Avocats Sans Frontieres.

Alp Selek, Pinar's father and her lawyer in the case, told the court:

"This trial has been going on for 25 years. The children who were born then are now adults. Pinar's sister received her law degree in the course of the trial. And for some strange reason, you still insist on trying her over fake documents. Let me repeat it three times: 'Unfair trial, unfair trial, unfair trial.'"