Maria Arena: Tragic news on human rights defenders continue to flow from Turkey

Maria Arena, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) issued the following statement:“We are deeply shocked by the death of lawyer Ebru Timtik in an Istanbul hospital after a 238 days hunger strike. Ms Timtik was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison during a parody of justice.

The Turkish judiciary authorities failed to prevent this tragic end by disregarding the appeals and several medical reports. They are to blame and must be held accountable.

Lawyer Ebru Timtik’s courageous fight for justice and rule of law shall never be forgotten.

We call on the EU and Member States to urgently take all appropriate measures and initiatives to prevent that lawyer Aytaç Ünsal face the same fate.”


Lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal are among a group of eighteen lawyers accused of being members of a terrorist organization under Turkey’s sweeping anti-terrorism laws. In the trial of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), Ebru Timtik was sentenced to 13 years 6 months in prison last March for “terrorism-related” offenses. Together with Ms Timtik, the court sentenced 18 ÇHD lawyers to a total of 159 years in prison.

In July, the Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court denied the application for the release of the two lawyers. The court’s decision came despite a medical report saying that Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal should not remain in jail. The case of the two lawyers was then taken to the Court of Cassation, which is the last instance for reviewing verdicts given by courts of criminal and civil justice, and then to the Constitutional Court. Earlier in August, the Constitutional Court rejected the request to release the two lawyers. The top court alleged that there is “no serious danger toward their material or immaterial integrity” in its decision, despite the deteriorating health of the lawyers.

For further information contact: Office of  Maria Arena0032 2 28 45690