Bar associations: Timtik and Ünsal must live

The presidents of dozens of bar associations in Turkey demand a fair trial for the hunger-striking lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal. Not only their lives, but also the right to defence is at high risk.

The presidents of 33 bar associations in Turkey have issued a joint statement for the hunger-striking lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal. The statement emphasises that not only the lives of Timtik and Ünsal are endangered, but also the right of defence.

"We all know that our professional colleagues Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal converted their hunger strike, which started with the demand for a fair trial, into a death fast on April 5th, the 'Lawyer's Day'. Although the forensic medicine has determined that they are unfit to be imprisoned, the 37th Heavy Penal Court of Istanbul has decided that they will be not be release but will be held and treated in hospital by force. As a result of this decision, our two colleagues are being held against their will and under even more difficult conditions than in prison in cells reserved for prisoners and which cannot be ventilated," write the chairpersons of bar association.

The health of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal is moving towards a point from which there is no return, the statement said and continued: "There is not only a risk to the lives of Ebru and Aytaç, but to the right of defence per se. What our two colleagues are demanding is the right to a fair trial. All citizens have this right. The demand is therefore justified and easy to meet. Anyone with a conscience today has the responsibility to keep Ebru and Aytaç alive. As the chairs of the bar associations, we appeal to all the relevant authorities in awareness of this responsibility."

The bar presidents demand the implementation of the right to a fair trial and the immediate cancellation of the arrest warrants. In the event of release, they want to lobby for Timtik and Ünsal to "reconsider the decision they have made about their lives".

The declaration is signed by the chairs of the bar associations of Adana, Ağrı, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Artvin, Aydın, Balıkesir, Batman, Bingöl, Bolu, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Düzce, Antep, Hakkari, Hatay, İstanbul, İzmir, Kocaeli, Mardin, Mersin, Muğla, Muş, Ordu, Siirt, Urfa, Şırnak, Tekirdağ, Dersim, Van and Yalova.