The major events in the trial of Pinar Selek, feminist and anti-militarist activist

1998 – Arrest

  • Pinar Selek is questioned about her research on the Kurdish issue. She is imprisoned for her alleged involvement with the PKK and is tortured for refusing to disclose the names of her Kurdish contacts.
  • While in prison, she learns on TV that she is charged with terrorist activity following a recent explosion at the spice market in Istanbul
  • Forensic report: “No bomb”. The explosion at the spice market is due to a gas leak (which was confirmed by every other independent expertise since 1998)

2000 – Release and beginning of trial

  • Istanbul’s high court releases Pinar Selek on bail after two and a half years of detention. However, in a letter addressed to the president of the court, the Ministry of Interior and Istanbul Police Department argue against her release. They submit a new report emphasizing the criminal nature of the explosion.

2006 – First acquittal

  • Istanbul’s 12th Assize Court acquits Pinar Selek due to lack of material evidence against her.


  • Despite reports and witnesses proving Pinar Selek’s innocence, the prosecutor seeks aggravated life imprisonment.

2008 – Second acquittal

  • Pinar Selek faces a second appeal, prompting her to leave Turkey for exile in Berlin, and later Strasbourg.

2011 – Third acquittal

  • Istanbul’s 12th Assize Court drops all charges against Pinar Selek, acquitting her for the third time.

2012 – Third appeal

  • Unexpectedly, the case faces a third appeal, a rare occurrence in Turkish jurisprudence. resulting in the trial being sent back to the 9th Chamber of the Istanbul Criminal Court for the third time.

2013 – Conviction and annulment

  • On January 24, 2013, Istanbul’s 12th Criminal Court sentences Pinar Selek to life imprisonment.
  • Her lawyers challenge the legality of the decision, leading to its annulment by the 9th Court of Cassation in Ankara on June 11, 2014.

2014 – Fourth acquittal

  • In December 2014, the case is retried at Istanbul’s 15th Criminal Court, which acquits Pinar Selek.
  • The prosecutor immediately appeals to the Court of Cassation.

2022 – Annulment of acquittal

  • On June 21, 2022, after 7 years, the Court of Cassation annuls the fourth acquittal.


  • January 6, 2023: Istanbul’s Assize Court issues an arrest warrant for immediate imprisonment, even before a new hearing takes place.
  • March 31, 2023: Trial hearing at the Assize Court. Pinar Selek’s lawyers argue about all the procedural irregularities and for justice to be served. The debate is postponed under the pretext that Pinar had to be present to be judged (reason given for an extradition request). The arrest warrant remains in effect. However, a judgment could have been rendered in her absence.
  • September 29: Hearing at the criminal court. The Criminal Court of Istanbul once again postpones the examination of the case until June 28, 2024. Every time a court has looked into the case, it has acknowledged that there is no evidence against Pinar. France, expected to review an extradition request, still hasn’t received it. The Turkish Ministry of Justice itself has returned the dossier to the Court, deeming the request insufficiently motivated. In a context where Turkey is reapplying for membership in the European Union, the denial of justice she faces undoubtedly reflects poorly.
  • The Turkish justice system aims to imprison Pinar Selek for life for her research, literary works, and advocacy for Kurdish and Armenian minorities, feminist movements, and Turkish LGBTQ+ minorities. It has been politically targeting her for over 25 years. This politically motivated trial for terrosim represents one of the most extreme forms of infringement on freedom of expression and academic freedom, which are threatened today worldwide.

Coordination of solidarity groups with Pinar Selek.

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