Turkey: exiled sociologist Pinar Selek sentenced to life

In fourth trial, for fatal 1998 explosion in Istanbul bazaar

24 January, 19:39

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, JANUARY 24 - An Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced Turkish sociologist in exile, Pinar Selek, to life in prison on charges stemming from a 1998 explosion in that city's Spice Bazaar that left seven people dead.

Selek has previously been tried and acquitted three times for complicity in the explosion, which was initially blamed on a Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) bomb, but which forensic experts two years later concluded had in fact been caused by a gas leak.

The sociologist, renowned for her work on Turkey's conflict with its Kurdish minority, was first arrested in 1998 at the age of 28. She now lives in Strasbourg and did not return to Turkey to withstand trial, but today's sentencing provoked an outcry among her many supporters in the courtroom, including cries of ''Fascists!'' from some foreign women activists. The country's Supreme Court of Appeals at the end of last year overturned Selek's prior acquittals, provoking an outcry in Turkey and internationally, with numerous Turkish artists and intellectuals taking her side. Actress Deniz Turkali called the proceedings a ''farce trial'' and the Socialist mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, denounced the ''politically motivated judicial harassment'' of the academic. (ANSAmed).

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