APPEAL OF HANDS OFF CAIN TO PROTECT THE TURKISH LAWYERS EBRU TIMTIK AND AYTAC UYSAL, AND FOR THE END AF ALL-OUT HUNGER STRIKE
April 29, 2020:
Hands Off Cain, faced with the news of the detention of Turkish lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytac Uysal, on hunger strike for 116 and 84 days respectively, expresses its solidarity with the two human rights defenders and asks for their immediate release, together with that of other political prisoners, inviting to desist from forms of hunger strike to the bitter end that can end with death. (Sources: HOC, 29/04/2020)
The two lawyers, now exhausted, are in prison for defending Turkish artists Helin Bolek and Mustafa Kocak, members of the band Grup Yorum. The two singers had been arrested on charges of subversion crimes, for having exercised, in the concerts that have been banned since 2016, the right of expression with the songs that expressed their dissent from Erdogan's government policy. Helin Bolek died in Istanbul prison on April 3 and the same fate happened to Mustafa Kocak on April 23 in Sakran: both had been fasting for almost 300 days to ask for release, as they had always declared themselves innocent. With the same accusation of having committed political crimes, the lawyers of the two singers have also been imprisoned and are currently in very serious conditions, both physical and psychological, due to the fasting that they are leading for their release.
Convinced that the hunger strike is an instrument of nonviolent struggle and dialogue, we invite to desist from extreme forms that can lead to death. We invite to cultivate life to gain freedom and democracy for all and to avoid using the body as a weapon to be thrown at the opponent.
We are aware that the health conditions of lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytac Uysal have worsened over time and have become incompatible with prison. Especially since we are in an emergency COVID-19, and overcrowding still persists despite the appreciable amnesty granted to prisoners.
We therefore ask for their immediate release, to protect their health, together with that of human rights defenders and prisoners for political crimes who are in prison for expressing their dissent. For all of them, we ask for the right to manifest thought and for the amnesty to be extended.