The People's Law Bureau announced late on Aug. 27 that Ebru Timtik, one of the two lawyers who have been on a death fast since February, lost her life at the hospital.
“Our bureau lawyer Ebru Timtik, who was on a death fast for the last 238 days with a demand to a fair trial, has fallen a martyr! We call on all our colleagues and people to come in front of Bakırköy Dr. Sadi Konuk Hospital!” read a statement issued on the Twitter account of the People's Law Bureau.
Adil yargılanma talebiyle 238 gündür Ölüm orucunda olan büro avukatımız Ebru Timtik şehit düştü!— Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (@halkinhukuk_) August 27, 2020
Tüm meslektaşlarımızı ve halkımızı Bakırköy Dr. Sadi Konuk Hastanesi önüne çağırıyoruz! pic.twitter.com/Xes0lS3P2S
The Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) has similarly announced that Timtik lost her life at the hospital. “We have just lost our colleague Ebru Timtik, who was on a death fast with a demand to a fair trial,” read the ÇHD's statement on Twitter.
Adil yargılanma talebi ile 238 gündür ölüm orucunda olan avukat arkadaşımız Ebru Timtik'i az önce kaybettik.— Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği (@chdgenelmerkez) August 27, 2020
Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal are among a group of 18 lawyers who were convicted in March 2019 with a total of 159 years in prison on charges of membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C). Timtik alone received a jail sentence of 13 years and 6 months.
Turkish intellects slam gov't for neglecting outcries with regards to case of Timtik, Ünsal
Following the death of Timtik, several intellects and politicians have criticized the Turkish government for neglecting the outcries of the public for months with regards to the case of the two lawyers.
Academic and politician Nesrin Nas wrote on her Twitter account that all that Timtik wanted was a demand to a fair trial. "I am so sorry. She just wanted a fair trial. A state that turns a deaf ear to its citizens' demand to a fair trial...Where are we running to?" wrote Nas.
Renowned singer Zülfü Livaneli wrote that the death of Timtik "is the death of humanity, justice and conscience" in Turkey.
Ebru’nun göz göre göre ölümü bu ülkede insanlığın, adaletin, vicdanın ölümüdür. https://t.co/59okuVd00e— Zülfü Livaneli (@LivaneliZulfu) August 27, 2020
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu slammed the judiciary for not releasing Timtik. "It is impossible not to rebel against this. Until when are we going to witness these deaths [stemming from hunger strike]? Shame on those who did not give a decision for release. We had begged the Court of Cassation to handle this file," Tanrıkulu said in a program aired on Halk TV.Turkey's Constitutional Court rejects hunger-striking lawyers' demand for release
Heads of several bar associations have similarly criticized the state authorities for ignoring the case of Timtik and Ünsal. "They have not heard her months-long scream demanding a fair trial. Those who turned a deaf ear and turned away their heads have massacred the justice and conscience," said Ankara Bar Association president Erinç Sağkan.
Antalya Bar Association president Polat Balkan described Timtik's death as a "judicial murder," while Mersin Bar Association president Bilgin Yeşilboğaz said "Injustice kills."
"Ebru Timtik could not hold onto life and passed away. Justice was late for Ebru, but at least give a voice for Aytaç Ünsal," said Bursa Bar Association president Gürkan Altun.
"I am very sorry. We could not keep our colleague Lawyer Ebrtu Timtik, a human, a life alive," said Ordu Bar Association president Haluk Murat Poyraz.Belgian lawyers stage symbolic hunger strike in solidarity with Turkish colleagues Timtik, Ünsal
Along with lawyer Ünsal, Timtik was on hunger strike since February 2020, with the demand to be tried fairly. On April 5, the Turkish Day of the Lawyer, the two human rights lawyers announced that they would persist in their hunger strike even if it leads to their deaths.
On July 30, they have been referred two two separate Istanbul hospitals without their consent and have since refuted all kinds of medical intervention.
The Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court in July denied the application for the release of the two lawyers citing the existence of a flight risk and their conviction on terrorism-related charges. The court's decision came despite a medical report saying that Timtik and Ünsal should not remain in jail. The court therefore asked the public prosecutor’s office to refer Timtik and Ünsal to a hospital.
The case of Timtik and Ünsal was then taken to the Court of Cassation, which is the last instance for reviewing verdicts given by courts of criminal and civil justice, and then to the Constitutional Court.
Earlier in August, the Constitutional rejected the request to release the two lawyers. The top court alleged that there is "no serious danger toward their material or immaterial integrity" in its decision, despite the deteriorating health of the lawyers.
Ünsal is currently held at Kanunu Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul.