On a death fast behind bars, lawyer Aytaç Ünsal has sent a note for Ebru Timtik, another death-fasting arrested lawyer: “Join your lives with hers! Ask them on the phone, by fax and on every platform possible… What is the Court of Cassation waiting for?”

Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal… They are two arrested lawyers. They have been on a death fast for their right to a fair trial.

Arrested in Burhaniye Prison, Aytaç Ünsal has been on the 165th day of his death fast while Ebru Timtik is on the 196th day of hers. In his note addressed to the public, raising concerns and publicity about the condition of Ebru Timtik, Ünsal asks, “What is the Court of Cassation waiting for?”

Ünsal has sent the following note for Timtik arrested in Silivri Prison:

“Ebru Timtik has been on a death fast for 196 days, she has been hungry for over 6 months. We know she now has inflammatory sores from her mouth down her trachea. We know there are swellings on her tongue. She cannot swallow and has difficulty in drinking water and breathing.

“I can be the water that she cannot drink and the breathe that she cannot take. I am sending life to her from my own life. She now weighs less than 40 kilos. Her body is as tiny as roe deers, gazelles of Munzur. They want to kill an esteemed lawyer, a beautiful human of this homeland together.

“So, come together and join your lives with hers! Ask them on the phone, by fax, on every platform possible… What is the Court of Cassation waiting for?”

Charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” and “leading an organization,” 18 lawyers were sentenced to 159 years, 1 month, 30 days in prison in total. While Timtik was sentenced to 13 years, 6 months for “membership,” Ünsal was sentenced to 10 years, 6 months.

Having gone on a hunger strike for their right to a fair trial, Timtik has been on a death fast for 200 days as of today (July 10). As for Ünsal, has been death fasting with the same demand for 159 days. They are now approaching a life-critical point in their fast.

The file of their case is now being examined by the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation. Lawyers demand that the supreme court reverse the judgement, rule for a retrial and their release.

What if the Court upholds prison sentences?

Lawyer Didem Baydar, the wife of Aytaç Ünsal, has spoken to bianet, indicating that as far as they have been informed, the Court of Cassation will give a ruling before the judicial recess ends. Baydar has also added that while the recess starts on July 20, there has yet been no ruling.

According to Baydar, the Court of Cassation can either give a ruling by a court board on duty or wait for the end of the recess:

“While the condition of death-fasting lawyers is so bad, it will cause problems if they keep it waiting any more. Aytaç has lost a lot of weight. He has said that he wakes up at night, feeling like losing his voice. Ebru also has difficulties in speaking for some time now.”

But what if the Court of Cassation upholds the prison sentences? Lawyer Baydar has said that in such a case, the decision of hunger strike will be discussed again and a decision will be made based on the point where the lawyers and their struggle for justice stand:

“But, first, the Court of Cassation has to give a judgement, a judgement needs to be handed down, be that negative or positive.”

Didem Baydar will be in front of the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan today (July 16) to attend the 82nd Justice Watch and ask, “Our file is at the Court of Cassation since June 1. The Court of Cassation has not announced its verdict for 46 days. Why? Each and every passing day is also taking away a day from the lives of Ebru and Aytaç! What is the Court of Cassation still waiting to reverse our file and announce its verdict?”

What happened?

Announcing its verdict in the lawsuit filed against ÇHD lawyers on March 20, the court ruled that the lawyers should be sentenced to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days to 18 years, 9 months in prison.

The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the objections and sent the file to the Court of Cassation.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Cassation expressed opinion that the prison sentences of all lawyers, except for the one given to lawyer Barkın Timtik, be upheld.

The letter of notification only indicated that the prison sentence of 18 years, 9 months given to Barkın Timtik for “establishing and leading an organization” as per the Article 314/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) should be overturned and he should also be penalized for “membership of an organization” like other lawyers.

The letter of notification issued by the prosecutor’s office has been sent to the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.

Lawyer Ebru Timtik, an executive of the ÇHD, and lawyer Aytaç Ünsal, a member of the ÇHD, have gone on a death fast for the right to a fair trial.

Bianet – 16.07.2020

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