Death of human rights lawyer marks further low in Turkey’s human rights record, rights activists claim

Turkish human rights lawyer Ebru Timtik died on 27 August 2020 after three years in detention and a hunger strike lasting 238 days.

Along withother lawyers from the People’s Law Office, she was arrested in September 2017 and sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison under the charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation. She went on a hunger strike on 02 January 2020 claiming her right to a fair trial.

The death of Timtik after a long hunger strike was entirely preventable, UN human rights experts said on Wednesday, calling on Turkey to release other human rights defenders.

“No one should have to die in pursuit of a fair trial; it is a fundamental human right,” they said. “This is an utter waste of a human life, and we are greatly dismayed at the death of this, courageous woman human rights defender, as well as the circumstances that led to her death.”

The UN experts called for an effective investigation into her death. “We call on the authorities to establish an accountability process for the victim and to uphold fair trial principles by reopening the cases of arrested human rights lawyers. The Government of Turkey must also take immediate action to release individuals detained and sentenced contrary to international law.”

“The death of Ebru Timkik marks a further low in Turkey’s human rights record and occurred amidst a pervasive crackdown by the Government on the rule of law and human rights in the country and on lawyers, judges and prosecutors defending them,” said International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights organization and a standing group of 60 eminent jurists—including senior judges, attorneys and academics.