Killing of Tahir Elçi…
We've written to the Turkish authorities to call on them to ensure fairness in proceedings against the death of Tahir Elçi, a lawyer killed in 2015.
We wrote to the UN special rapporteurs on:
We co-signed the letter with:
We’re deeply concerned about the condition of two lawyers detained in Turkey who are on hunger strike. Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal have been convicted and detained in violation of fair trial principles. They are two of the ҪHD lawyers charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” under Article 314(2) of the Turkish Penal Code.
Ms Timtik and Mr Ünsal received sentences of 13 and a half years and 10 and a half years respectively. Ms Timtik went on a hunger strike in January 2020 and Mr Ünsal followed on 2 February 2020, to protest against violations of their rights, as well as the lack of fair trial in other cases. On 5 April they turned this into a ‘death fast’. They’re now in a critical condition.
They were moved from prison to hospital under a court ruling following a medical report in July 2020. Currently, Ms Timtik is at Dr Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital in İstanbul’s Bakirköy district, while Mr Ünsal is at Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital in Küçükçekmece district.
Ms Timtik now weights 35 kilos, while Mr Ünsal weighs 55 kilos. They and their relatives have reported poor conditions in the hospital, including cold, being prevented from sleeping, being continuously watched and being refused pen and paper.
Even one more day on hunger strike could be irreversibly harmful to their health and it’s reportedly a matter of hours, not days.
The case of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal is currently under examination by the 16th Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. More than 30 bar association chairs worldwide applied to the İstanbul Court about the lawyers’ request and nearly 100 petitions were received within 36 hours.
We’ve asked the UN special rapporteurs to:
January and February 2020 – Ms Timtik and Mr Ünsal go on hunger strike, demanding a retrial
5 April 2020 – Ms Timtik and Mr Ünsal turned their protest into a ‘death fast’
June 2020 – more than 22 international bar associations have asked the Supreme Court in Turkey to release Ms Timtik and Mr Ünsal, submitting the final report from a fact-finding mission. Petitions demanding their release were also submitted to the Supreme Court of Appeals, showing the support of 400 lawyers from Turkey and 356 more lawyers from 20 other countries
17 July 2020 – in a press conference in Istanbul, the Solidarity Platform for Justice said that they had lesions in their mouths and had difficulties talking and drinking
30 July 2020 – the Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institution released a report on the health conditions of Ms Timtik and Mr Ünsal, after the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court ruled that the lawyers should undergo a medical examination. The report said that was not suitable for them to stay in prison. They were hospitalised for a possible force-feeding shortly after the court ruling
11 August 2020 – Ms Timtik and Mr Ünsal had been on a “death fast” for 222 and 191 days respectively in demand for a fair trial
18 August 2020 – we sent our urgent appeal to the UN