Turkish human rights lawyer dies after hunger strike


30th August: Ebru Timtik, a Turkish human rights lawyer who was serving terrorism sentenced in Istanbul, died after a seven-month-long hunger strike.

According to reports, the strike was launched in hopes to draw attention to an unfair trial, however, on the 238th day of this strike, Timtik passed away at an Istanbul hospital on Thursday. The law office disclosed that the lawyer weighed merely 30 kilograms (66pounds) at the time of her death.

The Kurdish lawyer was convicted along with 17 others in March 2019 of ties to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), a leftist militant group designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

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Lawyers groups claimed that these court proceedings lacked credibility since the lawyers who the judges had initially ordered to be released from pretrial detention were not taken off the case and the identities of some witnesses were also kept anonymous.

However, their appeal was rejected in October 2019, and Timtik was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison. In April, she and her colleague Aytac Unsal decided to continue their strike regardless of the consequences but because of this, their health declined and the two were forcibly hospitalized in late July.

The death of Timtik brought on condemnation from a host of rights groups, Turkish opposition parties, and foreign officials.

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The human rights commissioner at the Council of Europe, which also includes Turkey as a member, seriously criticized the country’s judicial system upon its views of lawyers being guilty by association with their clients.

“Ms. Timtik’s death is a tragic illustration of the human suffering caused by a judicial system in Turkey that has turned into a tool to silence lawyers, human rights defenders, and journalists, through systematic disregard for the most basic principles of the rule of law,” Dunja Mijatovic claimed.

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Numerous political prisoners are suffering in Turkish prisons on terrorism charges for alleged ties to various groups, including the banned Kurdistan Workers Party and the Fethullah Gulen movement, which the government blames for the failed coup attempt in 2016.

This year, two imprisoned members of a defiant left-wing folk band were also accused of ties to the DHKP/C died while on a hunger strike.

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