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Turkey: Lawyer Aytac Unsal imprisoned at the risk of his health: sign the petition!

18 February 2021


The Observatory expresses its deepest concern in view of the extremely deteriorated state of health of lawyer Aytaç Ünsal and calls for the signature of the petition demanding his immediate release.

Aytaç Ünsal is a Turkish lawyer who has been prosecuted since 2017 and sentenced to more than 10 years of detention for „belonging to a terrorist organisation“ alongside several members of the Association of Progressive Lawyers (ÇHD).

He had started a hunger strike on 3 February 2020 alongside our colleague Ebru Timtik to demand a fair trial before he was finally released after 213 days on hunger strike for health reasons. This release followed the death of our colleague Ebru Timtik.

Aytaç Unsal was imprisoned again on 10 November 2020 while undergoing medical treatment. The Supreme Court’s decision to postpone the execution of the sentence was illegally lifted in defiance of Turkey’s international commitments.

Aytaç Ünsal suffers from serious health problems due to the effects of his long-term hunger strike. He is currently held in solitary confinement in Edirne high security prison and denied treatment.

The Observatory is deeply concerned about Aytaç Ünsal’s health and calls for his immediate release.

The Observatory would also like to remind the Turkish authorities that under the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990):

„Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;“ (Principle 16)

„Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients‘ causes as a result of discharging their functions.“(Principle 18)

„Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly.“(Principle 23)

The Observatory appeals to sign the petition calling for his immediate release: link