Pinar Selek acquitted! Her exclusive interview

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Pinar Selek, you are a writer and sociologist, you have been defending the rights of women and minorities in Turkey. Today, you appeared for the third time before the High Criminal Court in Istanbul, on the basis of a complaint lodged against you for “terrorism” 12 years ago. Today, 9 February 2011, the High Criminal Court just granted you an acquittal in this matter. How are you feeling now that this decision has been rendered?

How I am feeling is a little difficult to explain, because on the one hand I am very worried and on the other hand I am of course very happy about the decision. I feel strong and at the same time I remain in shock, this experience has been like a nightmare, and I still wonder if I will ever wake up. I been through numerous absurd events, which is why I remain worried. But of course, I am very happy as this procedure has a historical significance for Turkey. People who are very different politically, in their way of life, etc. came together with justice in mind. I think we won here.

This case is not completely over, as it will now be transferred to the Court of Cassation. Is there anything in particular you would like to say to NGOs and international organisations in this regard?

I have not yet been able to speak to my lawyers, as since the decision was issued I have been speaking to journalists. However, I think that it will be a while before this matter is resolved, as the Prosecutor will request an appeal and it will take some time after that. Nonetheless, the Court’s decision is very important, because they wrote a very detailed three-page decision. I believe that justice is taking a stand against politics.

Do you have a message for the human rights organisations which have supported you over these past few years?

Solidarity and people coming together for a cause is very important. It demonstrates that in Turkey we can win something, by coming together we can bring about changes. If we are active, change is possible.

Pinar Selek, thank you very much for your testimony.

An interview by Hugo Gabbero, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT)

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