After 238 days of hunger strike, Turkish lawyer Ebru Timtik died last night in a hospital in Istanbul, reports her employer on Twitter. The 42-year-old Timtik was sentenced to more than thirteen years in prison last year. She is accused of having ties with the extreme left-wing Revolutionary Liberation Army (DHKPC-C), a terrorist organisation that has committed attacks in Turkey in the past.
Ünsal was sentenced to more than ten years in jail last year, just like Timtik for ties with terrorists. The two announced in April that they would continue their hunger strike, even if it would lead to their death.
Timtik and Ünsal were members of the now banned Association of Progressive Lawyers. They were involved as lawyers in a number of sensitive lawsuits about police violence in anti-government demonstrations and torture in prisons, says Turkey correspondent Mitra Nazar
“The Turkish government links the lawyers’ association of the two to the terrorist DHKPC-C. But according to their lawyers and international human rights organisations, there is no evidence of this.”
This month the Lawyers for Lawyers foundation and several human rights organisations, among others, called on the United Nations to intervene in the case of Timtik, Ünsal and sixteen other arrested lawyers “They call this a political process aimed purely at silencing government critics”, says Nazar.
After the failed coup in 2016 many people disappeared behind bars in Turkey. They were convicted for things like “making propaganda for terrorist organizations”, such as the banned Kurdish PKK and the Gülen movement.