The International Association of Democratic Lawyers calls upon all of our colleagues in the legal profession as well as our colleagues in health care to sign on to the following petitions in support of imprisoned lawyer Aytaç Ünsal in Turkey.
Sign on to the Lawyers’ Statement: http://bit.ly/lawyersappeal
Sign on to the Health Care Workers’ Statement: http://bit.ly/healthappeal
These statements were adopted as part of the 7 February 2021 Council meeting of the IADL. Our colleague Aytaç Ünsal was 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 – when he was was seized by Turkish police on 9 December 2020. 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 and denied the medical treatment he requires.
Please take action to defend Aytaç Ünsal by signing the statements below and distributing widely:
Lawyers’ Statement in Support of Aytaç Ünsal: Click here to sign on!
THE LAW MUST BE FOLLOWED: LAWYER AYTAC UNSAL MUST BE RELEASED IMMEDIATELY!
Our colleague from Turkey, lawyer Aytaç Unsal, along with his colleague Ebru Timtik, started a death fast in order to demand a fair trial. Both, along with other lawyers in Turkey, have been subjected to ongoing persecution for their activities as lawyers. Aytac Unsal was released on day 215 of his death fast, September 3, 2020, after the death of Ebru Timtik, by the Supreme Court due to the fact that his health would be harmed by remaining inside prison conditions. Therefore, the execution of his sentence was postponed “until he recovered” and his health was restored.
However, our colleague Aytaç Unsal was detained again while his medical treatment was continuing, that is, before he had recovered. In violation of the law, the decision to postpone the execution issued by the Supreme Court was lifted, and he was jailed again.
This decision is contrary to the existing domestic law in Turkey as well as to binding provisions of customary international law and the treaties and covenants that Turkey has ratified.
Our colleague Aytaç Ünsal has severe health problems due to the effects of his long-term hunger strike. Aytaç Unsal is currently being held in isolation in the (high security) Edirne F-Type Prison, his treatment is blocked, and mandatory medications are not being provided to him for his treatment, further endangering his health.
Our colleague Aytaç Unsal’s health is not suitable to remaining in prison conditions. In addition, it is not possible for his treatment to be carried out in prison conditions. For this reason, we are concerned about the life of our colleague, and we demand that the Turkish authorities immediately abide by applicable law and release our colleague.
Health Care Workers’ Statement in Support of Aytaç Ünsal: Click here to sign on!
Aytaç Unsal is one of the lawyers in Turkey who has been persecuted and subjected to a lengthy sentence for his work as a lawyer to represent and defend his clients. Last year, in order to uphold the right to a fair trial, Aytaç Unsal and his co-defendant, fellow lawyer Ebru Timtik, carried out a lengthy total hunger strike, during which lawyer Timtik lost her life. A few days after Timtik’s death, on September 3, 2020, Aytaç Unsal, who had reached 215 days of hunger strike, was released from prison due to his very serious health condition.
On December 9, 2020 Aytaç Unsal was imprisoned again due to an alleged “risk of escape.” He was beaten by police, and since that time, he has been detained in a special prison in Edirne, held in isolation and deprived of the possibility to continue the indispensable health care treatments which have been prescribed in order to overcome the deficiencies and damages caused by the very long hunger strike. He does not even have the possibility to see his lawyers and/or his doctors, and he does not have access to the medicines and supplements he was taking before his re-incarceration.
Aytaç Unsal suffers from neuropathy in his limb and requires medications that he is being denied by the prison administration for his treatment; in addition, he needs supplements and vitamins (B1) that are not provided to him; and he needs care and monitoring that are being denied. His health conditions are rapidly worsening and he has started to lose weight again; the situation is even more worrying at a time like the present, in the middle of the Covid pandemic, a pathology that could have very serious consequences for someone suffering serious health conditions like Aytaç Unsal.
We call upon all health workers to join this appeal to strongly demand the release of Aytaç Unsal and to inform the professional associations of the health care professions, university medical departments and the scientific community about this serious situation. At the bare minimum, Aytac Unsal must be allowed access to doctors and lawyers, proper health care treatment, sanitary conditions and the provision of medications essential to protect his life and health.
FREEDOM and HEALTHCARE FOR AYTAC UNSAL