"The state wants our children to die of the pandemic"

The mother of the imprisoned lawyer on death fast, Aytaç Ünsal accuses the Turkish state of deliberately exposing her son, who was forced into hospital, to the Corona pandemic.

Masses continue to demand the release of the imprisoned lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal in Istanbul. Timtik and Ünsal have been on death fast as political prisoners for months. Despite the fact that they are unfit to be imprisoned, which has been confirmed by the Forensic Medicine Institute, the court has refused to release the two lawyers who are being held in hospital against their will.

Nermin Ünsal also took part in today's vigil in front of Istanbul’s Halkalı Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Hospital. She is the mother of Aytaç Ünsal and has been staying with her son as a companion for six days. The conditions in the hospital are worse than in prison, she said at the vigil. Covid-19 patients are treated in the hospital and her son's health is deteriorating: "Aytaç is in total isolation between four walls. There is no window that can be opened, there is no oxygen in the room. There are ten gendarmeries and a guard outside the door. The gendarmeries walk through the hospital, go outside to eat, and then come back in. The guard sits next to them and keeps coming back into the room. Also the cleaning staff do not wear protective clothing when they enter the room, the same is true for the medical staff. The state aims to ensure that our children do not die of hunger, but of the pandemic."

Nermin Ünsal fears that her son is being force-fed. A policeman explained this to her on the day her son was taken to the hospital against his will. "He said quite openly: There is an order from the Minister of the Interior, Süleyman Soylu, we will intervene", said Nermin Ünsal.

In the meantime, lawyers for Timtik and Ünsal have recently appealed against the rejection of a legal request for the release of the two lawyers. The 38th Heavy Penal Court of Istanbul found the 37th Heavy Penal Court’s judgment rejecting the appeal against the arrest of Timtik and Uysal to be proportional.

The death fast of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal

Ebru Timtik is a lawyer in the left-wing association "People's Legal Bureau" (Turkish: Halkın Hukuk Bürosu"). She has been on a death fast for 217 days now. Her colleague Aytaç Ünsal has refused any intake of food for 186 days. Both were sentenced to long prison terms due to contradictory statements of the chief witness Berk Ercan who has led to the arrest of almost 200 people. They were all sentenced according to terror paragraphs in the complex of proceedings against alleged members of the DHKP-C. Among them are several members of the music band Grup Yorum and Mustafa Koçak, who was sentenced to life imprisonment and died last April on hunger strike as a result of forced feeding.