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Jailed Turkish lawyer dies after months-long hunger strike

Ebru Timtik, who was convicted of a terrorism-related offence last year, died in an Istanbul hospital on Thursday
Embru Timtik Turkey lawyer
Turkish lawyer Ebru Timtik has died following a months-long hunger strike in demand of a fair trial (People's Law Firm/Twitter)

A Turkish lawyer on a months-long hunger strike demanding a fair trial died on Thursday in an Istanbul hospital, her law firm confirmed.

Ebru Timtik, who had been convicted last year for membership of a terrorist organisation, had been on a hunger strike for 238 days. She died early on Thursday, the People’s Law Office said on Twitter.

International lawyers' rights groups said that Timtik, who had been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison, had, together with her colleague Aytac Unsal, turned to fasting “to strengthen their demand for fair trials and the administration of justice in Turkey”.

Following news of Timtik's death, supporters took to social media to pay tribute to the lawyer. A memorial ceremony was held outside of the Istanbul Bar Association on Friday for Timtik, according to photos and videos posted on Twitter. 

Translation: We are at the memorial ceremony in front of the Istanbul Bar Association.

Timtik and Unsal were part of a group of 18 lawyers who had been convicted and sentenced to long-term imprisonment in March 2019 for alleged terrorism-related offences.

The lawyers were all members of the Progressive Lawyers Association and the People’s Law Office, "known for their representation of clients who are considered opponents of the Turkish government”, according to a statement published on 11 August by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, the International Association of Lawyers and others.

An appeal against the verdict had been rejected in October and a further appeal before Turkey’s Supreme Court is pending, the statement said, adding that Timtik and Unsal had said they would “persist in their hunger strike even if it leads to their deaths”.