Detention of Turkish lawyer Aytaç Ünsal

Aytac Unsal

Who we wrote to

The president of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

What's the issue

We're gravely concerned about the situation of lawyer Aytaç Ünsal.

On 3 February 2020 Aytaç Ünsal and his colleague Ebru Timtik began a hunger strike in prison over a lack of fair trial guarantees in their own cases and those of others. 

On 5 April 2020, that hunger strike turned into a death fast and died on 27 August 2020 Ebru Timtik died as a result of her hunger strike.

On 3 September 2020 and day 215 of Aytaç Ünsal's death fast he was temporarily released by the Supreme Court of Turkey and his sentence was postponed “until he recovered” and his health had been restored.

Aytaç Ünsal was detained again before having fully recovered and whilst his medical treatment was continuing in contravention of this judgement by the Supreme Court. He is currently being held in isolation in the high security Edirne F-Type Prison where he is not receiving appropriate medical care or access to medication required due to the severe health problems that have resulted from his long-term hunger strike. This makes his imprisonment untenable and is a violation of Turkey’s international legal obligations.

What we’ve asked for

We urge the relevant authorities in Turkey to:

  • release Aytaç Ünsal immediately
  • pending release, ensure that Aytaç Ünsal receives appropriate medical care and access to medication
  • ensure compliance with Turkey’s international legal obligations, specifically the prohibition of ill treatment and international standards on detention conditions
  • ensure that all lawyers in Turkey can practise their profession without undue interference in compliance with international standards on the independence of the legal profession.

We'll continue to monitor the situation of Aytaç Ünsal and other lawyers in Turkey.