Turkey: Court acquits two in 1998 Istanbul blast case

ISTANBUL - Turkish court acquitted Friday two suspects in a 1998 explosion case that killed seven people and wounded 127 others at a spice bazaar in Istanbul.

An Istanbul high criminal court said "exact and convincing" evidence could not be found against Pinar Selek and Abdulmecit Ozturk in the case.

Selek, a sociologist, was first charged and imprisoned in 1998. The ruling comes after Istanbul Public Prosecutor Yilmaz Kisti demanded aggravated life imprisonment for Selek in early December.  

Selek spent two years in prison, but was released after a team of forensic experts concluded the blast at Istanbul’s spice bazaar was caused by an accidental gas leak.

Defense Attorney Akin Atalay said it had not been proved whether a bomb blast caused the blast.

Selek, who was accused of making a bomb and aiding a terrorist organization, is now working at the University of Lyon in France. 

Since 1998, she has been tried and acquitted of all charges on three occasions. Her most recent acquittal was amended in November 2012 by an Istanbul court, which sentenced her to life in prison in January 2013.

Her case has attracted a lot of international attention, and supporters from Turkey and France have sought her acquittal.

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