HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal – Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals

30.07.2020

The Presidents of nine Turkish Bar Associations including those in Turkey’s largest cities of İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir in a video message called for the release of lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, who have been on a death fast since April 5, demanding a fair trial for the two attorneys.

Timtik and Ünsal have been in prison since September 12, 2018 on charges of membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front (DHKP-C). On March 20, 2019, the Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court sentenced Timtik to 13 years, six months and Ünsal to 10 years, six months. According to the ruling the two were accused of “communicating the organization’s messages to captured members and acting as couriers.” Their cases are currently before Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals.

In their messages the presidents of the bar associations asked the Supreme Court of Appeals to allow Timtik and Ünsal to have a fair trial and release them. İzmir Bar Association President Özkan Yücel asked, “To those who are keeping their files at the Supreme Court of Appeals for a long time, don’t you realize Ebru and Aytaç are dying?”

The two lawyers had taken on important cases such as a mining disaster in Soma that took the lives of 301 miners; the death of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who was hit on the head with a tear-gas canister fired by a police officer during the June 2013 anti-government protests in Turkey that are known as the Gezi protests; and the death of Engin Çeber in prison due to torture.

On June 4, 2020 Istanbul Bar Association President Mehmet Durakoğlu said “there was no concrete evidence and that the entire case was based on the testimony of a secret witness who has been used by the prosecution in a variety of cases”.

Last month, the secret witness, İ.Ö., sent a petition to Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals and said his testimony should not be taken into consideration due to his mental problems, including hallucinations. The petition was submitted by İ.Ö.’s attorney and included medical reports that support his claim.

The Presidency of the FBE in its meeting of 27 July, 2020 decided to support the Turkish Lawyers Ebru Tomtik and Aytac Unsal for their critical situation demanding a fairly judgement to the local Authorities.

Artur Wierzbicki

Human Rights Commission FBE