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Turkish court vacates woman's conviction in deadly 1998 blast in Istanbul spice market

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ISTANBUL — Turkey's Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated the conviction and life sentence of a woman found guilty of involvement in a deadly 1998 blast after previously being acquitted three times.

Pinar Selek, 41, a Turkish sociologist now living in France, was accused of aiding Kurdish rebels by planting a bomb in Istanbul's 17th-century spice market that killed seven people and wounded more than 120.

Selek, who maintains her innocence, was acquitted of the charges in 2006, 2007 and 2011. But the appeals court ordered a retrial and Selek was convicted last year. She now faces another possible retrial.

The case included contradictory evidence about whether the explosion was caused by a bomb or a gas leak.

Rights groups say the case against Selek has exposed flaws in Turkey's legal system, which allows people to be repeatedly tried for the same crime.

Selek spent two years in jail before leaving Turkey, claiming she had been tortured as a prisoner.

The rebel group she was convicted of helping, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its U.S. and European Union allies.

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