The International Association of Democratic Lawyers is outraged by the renewed detention of our colleague Aytaç Ünsal in Turkey. Already facing a precarious medical situation following his prolonged, 213-day hunger strike demanding a fair trial – in which our colleague Ebru Timtik lost her life – Ünsal was seized by Turkish police on 9 December. He had been conditionally released from his detention on false, political charges related to his work as a lawyer “until he recovers” from his hunger strike by the Supreme Court. Despite the fact that he has not recovered, making his detention unlawful, the Turkish state accused him of attempting to “flee abroad.” He has remained imprisoned since that time.

The IADL urges once again the immediate release of our detained colleague Aytaç Ünsal and his fellow imprisoned lawyers in Turkey, including Selcuk Kozagacli, member of the IADL Bureau and president of the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD).

We republish below the most recent update provided by the CHD on the condition of Aytaç Ünsal:

A brief report about the situation of Aytaç Ünsal

21.12.2020, Istanbul

  • On 9th of December 2020, Aytaç Ünsal was taken into custody in Edirne city centre. Upon the spread of the news, attorneys Mükerrem Karakurt and Seda Şaraldı, went to Edirne Security Directorate to see Aytaç Ünsal under custody.
  • During the interview in Edirne Security Directorate, it is seen that Aytaç Ünsal was bowled over intentionally by Security forces and he was seriously damaged, there were open wounds near his eyes. Besides, under custody he was exposed to further physical violence by being punched his abdominal region. He was not allowed to take his medicine for neuropathy disease which he is suffering because of the damage resulted from the hunger strike.
  • Aytaç Ünsal was kept under custody for 24 hours. He was transferred to a health institution for medical check with his hands cuffed behind his back. His legs were intentionally hit to ladders in the health institution, therewith ecchymosis and tubercles occurred on between his knees and feet. He was exposed to physical violence again by being forced his head down while getting in the police vehicle.
  • The prescribed medicines for open wounds near his eyes after the basic medical examination were not given to Aytaç Ünsal and even such a simple medical care was hindered by police forces.
  • Aytaç Ünsal, after exposed to acts of violence and torture, transferred to Edirne F Type closed penitentiary institution by the force of annulment decision of the halt of the execution. The decision given unlawfully without Aytaç Ünsal’s appearance before a court.
  • After his transfer, because of curfew, he was not allowed to be seen by his lawyers. Until December 14, 2020, his family and lawyers were not allowed to visit him.
  • On December 14, 2020 his father and mother visited him, his mother who is also a lawyer saw him as one of his lawyers. Again, His mother visited her following day and on December 16, 2020 Attorney Seda Şaraldı and Attorney Doğa İncesu met him.
  • According to the lawyers’ statement, Aytaç Ünsal was forced to endure a naked body cavity search fully nude when he was entering the prison. After he was arrested, he was deprived of getting his medicines, such as Lyrica, which is vital for his neuropathy disease’s treatment. Besides, although his COVID-19 test was negative, he has been kept in solitary confinement.
  • Aytaç Ünsal’s medical treatment must have been in progress and he is not able to access his medicines and proper medical care under prison conditions. He must always stay under observation because of his medical condition. His treatment was always gone under the observation of two people before he was arrested but now he stays alone.
  • Nermin Ünsal, Aytaç Ünsal’s mother contacted with him on December 18, 2020 for ten minutes on phone. She was informed that Aytaç Ünsal is still under same conditions. He is in solitary cell and stays insularity. He cannot access medicines and necessary vitamin supplement (B1) for his treatment although it was provided by his mother to prison management.
  • According to recent updates, Aytaç is suffering from pain and burning sensation in his legs. Malfunctioning observed his arterial blood vessels and venous valves and as a result of it his legs are congested. Congestion is a life-threatening condition for Aytaç Ünsal due to risk of embolism.
  • Aytaç Ünsal has still not been provided with clothes which were already given to prison management by his family. Since December 9 he has been wearing same clothes. He was exposed to physical violence, even hit the ground with same clothes on him. Thus, it is not only humiliation but also a health risk because of hygiene issues under pandemic conditions.
  • Consequently, Aytaç Ünsal is not able to access proper medical care after he was arrested. He is also in need of a proper and well-planned diet controlled by a nutritionist. Now he is deprived from consulting his nutritionist and proper nutrition. Besides, he regularly went to examination to his neurologist but his right to health is restrained and he is not allowed to go examination anymore.
  • It is hereby written up in order to explain Aytaç Ünsal’s health situation and the conditions he was kept under between December 9, 2020 when he was taken under custody and December 18,2020.

Progressive Lawyers Association