Two arrested at rally for lawyers on death fast in Istanbul

A rally for lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal on death fast was attacked by the police in Istanbul. Two people were subject to violent treatment and arrested.

Another rally for imprisoned lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal took place in Bakirköy district of Istanbul on Sunday. The lawyers have been on death fast for months with the demand for a fair trial and their condition is extremely critical. However, although the forensic medicine has determined that they are not fit to be imprisoned, a legal application for their release was rejected. Since Thursday the two lawyers have been in hospital against their will. They are threatened with forced feeding, which could have fatal consequences.

Today's rally again took place at the square in front of the state hospital "Dr. Sadi Konuk", where Ebru Timtik, now reduced to 35 kilograms, is being held. The demonstration promoged by the ‘Resistance Council’ was joined by numerous participants including Timtik's relatives, lawyers from the ÇHD and ÖHD associations, lawyers from the ÇHD and ÖHD associations, members of the Istanbul provincial association of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the prisoners' aid organisation TAYAD as well as activists from the Mothers of Peace Initiative. 

Ebru Timtik is a lawyer in the left-wing association "People's Legal Bureau" (Turkish: Halkın Hukuk Bürosu"). She has been on a death fast for 213 days now. Her colleague Aytaç Ünsal has refused any intake of food for 182 days. Both were sentenced to long prison terms due to contradictory statements of the main witness Berk Ercan. The charges of this defector have led to the arrest of almost 200 people. They were all sentenced according to terror paragraphs in the complex of proceedings against alleged members of the DHKP-C. Among them are several members of the music band Grup Yorum and Mustafa Koçak, who was sentenced to life imprisonment and died last April while on death fast.

Defence of the people in the dock

According to Volkan Çeşme from the ‘Resistance Council’, the group consists of a total of 18 left-wing lawyers who were accused in the so-called DHKP-C proceedings, 15 of whom alone were sentenced to a total of 159 years in prison. In his opinion, the trial was not about alleged "forbidden views" or any alleged criminal offences. "It was the defence itself that was in the dock. Whether in Gezi or in Soma, in the case of Hasan Ferit Gedik or Dilek Doğan - these 18 lawyers defended the destitute people who had been wronged. The defence of the people is wanted crushed through the sentences given to them." Çeşme also pointed out that both Timtik and Ünsal had expressly rejected forced feeding, but are still being held in hospital. "This is yet another violation of the law, ignored by the judiciary."

Esengül Demir: Political and legal monstrosity

Esengül Demir of the HDP Party Council said the reaction of the judicial authorities was similar to that of Nikko's three monkeys: "They see nothing, they hear nothing and they say nothing, even though the condition of Ebru and Aytaç is life-threatening. It is a political and legal monstrosity. We want them to live. They must be released so that medical treatment can be given in accordance with their declared will," Demir said and expressed her solidarity with the two lawyers' fight for justice.

Uncle of Timtik: Court of Cassation should finally decide

Yıldırım Deniz, an uncle of Ebru Timtik, called on the Court of Cassation to finally reach a decision in the case of his niece and her colleague Aytaç Ünsal. As the highest court in Turkey, the Court of Cassation examines whether a judgment or decision given in the final instance (after the usual appeals or objections have been lodged) is contrary to the law or disregards a rule of law. If this is the case, the Court of Cassation annuls the contested decision and refers the case to another jurisdiction, which then reopens the case. In the case of Timtik and Ünsal, this is an expedited procedure, but the court still takes an unusually long time to reach its decision. "Apparently, the judges want to wait for the death of the two to decide that they were sentenced in an extremely unfair trial," said Deniz.

Two arrests

At the end of the rally there was a police assault on the assembly. Using force, police arrested Volkan Çeşme and Erkan Munar who were then taken to the local police headquarters. What they are accused of is not known.