Imprisoned Turkish lawyers at risk of coronavirus

Who we wrote to

The president of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

We wrote jointly with:

  • Lawyers for Lawyers
  • the European Association of Lawyers for Human Rights and Democracy

What's the issue

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak creates a new and significant risk, particularly in overcrowded prisons with poor hygiene measures.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, several lawyers have been protesting against their unjust conviction by going on hunger strike. Their health is now at particular risk, and this risk is increasing following official confirmation that 44 inmates in Silivri Prison have tested positive for COVID-19.

Turkey initially responded to warnings made by international organisations by offering a mass amnesty to 90,000 prisoners, but:

  • not all of these prisoners have been released
  • a large proportion of prisoners are charged with some form of terrorist offence and so are not eligible for this reduction or remission of punishment

What we’ve asked for

We have called for the CPT to:

  • enhance its monitoring activities in Turkey and plan an ad hoc visit with special focus on the health risks faced by political prisoners of conscience due to discriminatory treatment in Turkey
  • request a report from the Turkish authorities concerning the health and welfare of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal by independent healthcare professionals
  • consider making virtual contact by video with the prisons in Turkey to monitor the situation from a distance