08/28/2020, 09.39
TURKEY
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Istanbul: Rights advocate Ebru Timtik dies following hunger strike

For 238 days she had not eaten food to protest against her 13-year prison sentence. She was charged with (allegedly) belonging to a criminal organization. Together with her colleague Aytac Unsal she asked for a "fair trial". Social networks flooded with condolences of activists, intellectuals, politicians.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Ebru Timtik, a Turkish human rights lawyer, died yesterday in a hospital in Istanbul due to deteriorating health conditions from the hunger strike she had been conducting for 238 days.

She was protesting the conviction for (allegedly) belonging to a terrorist organization. The news was reported by the People's Law Office, the law firm for which Ebru Timtik worked. Ebru had been demanding a "fair trial".

It is reported the woman died in the early hours of the morning when her pulse suddenly stopped.

Activists and human rights lawyers recall that Timtik was sentenced to over 13 years in prison. Together with her colleague Aytac Unsal she began a hunger strike last April, to "strengthen their demands for a fair trial" and a correct "administration of justice in Turkey", at the center of numerous complaints for violations of human rights.

The two lawyers and activists had recently confirmed their intention to "persist in the hunger strike, even if this results in their death". The verdict dates back to March 2019; in October the appellate judges confirmed the sentence. The proceedings had reached the benches of the Supreme Court, whose judgment was expected in the coming weeks.

The death of Ebru Timtik has raised a wave of protests and indignation in the country; with numerous comments from politicians, activists, journalists and ordinary citizens posted on social networks.

The musician Hüsnü Arkan recalls her fight "for justice" which will not be "forgotten". Gürsel Tekin, parliamentarian of the opposition movement Republican People's Party (CHP) recalls that the Constitutional Court "Constitutional Court rejected her release 'as there was no risk of death.' A politicized judiciary means a judiciary that has turned into an executioner. If there is no law, there is persecution. The AKP regime will stand trial for the crimes it committed against justice before history and the nation."

The artist Zülfü Livaneli states “the death of Ebru before the eyes of everyone is the death of humanity, justice and conscience in this country." Journalist Ahmet Şık adds that "this evil will, of course, come to an end, but when that day comes, we will be unable to look each other in the face due to the silence today."  Nesrin Nas, an economist and former president of the Motherland Party recalls that "all she asked for was a fair trial."

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