Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion
ANKARA - A Turkish court on Friday acquitted Turkish dissident sociologist Pinar Selek, who has taken refuge in France, over a 1998 explosion that killed seven people, the official Anatolia news agency reported.
The ruling -- delivered by a high criminal court in Istanbul -- came at a hearing on Selek's retrial, after a life sentence for her alleged involvement in the deadly explosion was overturned this year, according to Anatolia.
The 43-year-old Selek, known for her critical studies of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey and her work with street children, was accused of bombing a spice market popular among tourists in Istanbul.
Selek, then 27, was arrested and jailed on charges of involvement in the explosion after she refused to give police the names of rebels she had met during her research.
"After 16 years of judicial obstinacy, today's trial allowed Pinar Selek's lawyers to emphasise all day the absurdity and arbitrariness of the procedure," her supporters said in a statement from France.
"One by one, they pointed out the false evidence that allowed the creation of a fictitious history of the blast to silence Pinar Selek and prevent her from continuing her sociological work among oppressed social groups," they added.
Selek was freed in 2000 after the publication of a report blaming the explosion on a gas leak.
The latest verdict marked her fourth acquittal by Turkish courts. The previous acquittals were based on the primary witness's retraction of his testimony and a lack of evidence that the blast was a bomb attack.