Turkish Court refuses to release two lawyers on death fast

Despite the fact that Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal have been found incapable of imprisonment by forensic medicine, the competent Istanbul court has refused to release them from prison. The two lawyers are in mortal danger after months of death fast.

Shortly after the forensic medicine determined that Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal were unfit for detention, the 37th Chamber of the Istanbul Criminal Court rejected the application for the release of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal. After months of death fast, the two lawyers are in a very critical state of health. The court saw no reason to revoke the arrest warrant, arguing that medical treatment could also be organised from prison.

The members of the "Coordination for Freedom for Defence", who had been waiting for the court decision in front of the justice building in the Çağlayan district, reacted horrified and angry. Lawyer Çiğdem Akbulut stated that the court had just signed the death warrant for Timtik and Ünsal. She noted that the request for their release had been made to allow the hunger strikers to be medically checked by independent doctors. Instead, forced treatment is now to be expected, which in many cases has already led to the death of prisoners on death fast.

Death fast for a fair trial

Ebru Timtik, a lawyer of the left-wing association "People's Legal Office" (Turkish. Halkın Hukuk Bürosu"), has been on a death fast for 210 days now, her colleague Aytaç Ünsal has refused any food intake for 179 days. With this action they demand a fair trial. Both were sentenced to long prison terms due to contradictory statements of a key witness. The statements of defector Berk Ercan have led to the arrest of almost 200 people. Among them were several members of the music band Grup Yorum and Mustafa Koçak, who was sentenced to life imprisonment and died on 24 April after 297 days of hunger strike. All of them were sentenced under terrorism laws in the complex of proceedings against alleged members of the DHKP-C.

The appeal procedure for the review of the sentence against Timtik and Ünsal before the Court of Cassation in Ankara is still pending.