Lawyer on day 214 of death fast released from custody

Lawyer Aytaç Ünsal, who has been on death fast for 214 days with the demand for a fair trial, has been released for the time being after the Turkish Court of Cassation has accepted a complaint against his imprisonment.

Lawyer Aytaç Ünsal, who went on hunger strike in February, has been released from custody for the time being. The Turkish Court of Cassation has accepted a complaint against the detention of the lawyer, who has been on death fast for 214 days with the demand for a fair trial and ordered his early release. The development was announced by the law firm "People's Legal Bureau" (Turkish. Halkın Hukuk Bürosu, HHB) on Twitter on Thursday.

The court justified its decision with the fact that there is a concrete risk for Ünsal to take damage to life. The colleagues of the 32-year-old have gathered in front of the state hospital in the Küçükçekmece district of Istanbul, where Ünsal has been forcibly accommodated since the end of July, to receive him.

It came as a surprise that the application in the Ünsal case for his release from prison was approved. Nine previously filed complaints had been rejected by the 16th Chamber of the Ankara Court of Cassation. The appeal proceedings for the reconsideration of the ten-and-a-half-year sentence against the lawyer are still pending.

Ünsal had gone on hunger strike in February together with other imprisoned colleagues for a fair trial. On April 5 - the Lawyers Day - he turned his action into a "death fast" together with Ebru Timtik who recently died in Istanbul as a result of a 238-day food deprivation. Both were sentenced to long prison terms due to contradictory statements of a key witness. The statements of defector Berk Ercan led to the arrest of nearly 200 people in Turkey. 

Timtik is the fourth person from the DHKP-C trial who died this year as a result of a death fast. Helin Bölek, soloist of the music band Grup Yorum, died on April 3. She had refused to eat for 288 days in protest against the imprisonment of other band members and a ban on concerts by Grup Yorum. On May 7, Grup Yorum bassist Ibrahim Gökçek died after a 323-day hunger strike. Prior to this, political prisoner Mustafa Koçak who had been sentenced to life imprisonment died on April 24 as a result of a 296-day food deprivation.