HUNGER STRIKE LAWYERS FACING DEATH IN TURKEY
The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) expresses it solidarity with the two imprisoned Turkish lawyers, Ms Ebru Timtik and Mr Aytac Uysal, who are on a hunger strike and close to death, in their struggle for a fair trial In Turkey.
These two lawyers ,amongst more than 1500 lawyers , have been imprisoned by the Turkish regime since the coup attempt during 2016 on various spurious charges and mock trials. The charges relate to the defence of persons who were allegedly associated with opposition to the Turkish Government. President Erdogan has imposed draconian laws that suppresses human rights and freedoms in Turkey, and which laws further that criminalises the defence by lawyers of persons opposing the Government.
Tens of thousands of civil servants , soldiers and public officials had been arrested and jailed after mock trials which allow anonymous witnesses to incriminate innocent persons and opponents of the regime. Those imprisoned includes magistrates , judges, prosecutors, professional persons, teachers and those belonging to opposition political parties in Turkey.
The stand taken by these two lawyers, Ebru and Aytac, is the highest form of non violent protest against this unjust system. The message of Erdogan to the Turkish people is crude and simple, namely, that he can deal with lawyers who defend opponents of the system in a summary manner , and therefore ordinary citizens will face the cruel might of the State much more easily and swiftly. This tactic of the Erdogan government that is abusing its democratic system by passing unjust laws and using compliant judges who work under fear and compliance has succeeded in silencing the masses of the people.
These lawyers have been on a hunger strike for many months and have been moved to a prison “hospital” ward under extreme conditions of secrecy and unhealthy conditions. Visitation under permits may be allowed for only 15 minutes, on application.
NADEL appeals to the South African Government which shares a close political and financially rewarding relationship with the Turkish authorities to call on the Turkish authorities to release these lawyers from custody, on humanitarian grounds, and afford them a fair and open trial, where the rule of law is respected in word and deed.
The Legal defence of persons charged with crimes is a basic and fundamental human right that is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations to which both South Africa and Turkey are signatories. The role of lawyers in the defence of such persons charged is central to the upholding of all the rights in the UN Charter and is protected under international law.
The intervention of the South African Government on humanitarian grounds will be consistent with the highest traditions of our struggle in South Africa for justice against an oppressive regime and in the best traditions and spirit of our greatest lawyer, President Nelson Mandela. It will also be consistent with the spirit, aims and objectives of striving for universal justice as reflected in our Constitution.
NADEL respectfully hopes that this appeal with be seriously considered by our Government.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS (NADEL), SOUTH AFRICA,
BY: The Office of the NADEL National Secretariat,
National Secretary General,
Ms. Nolitha Jali
Cell: 071 689 3705
14 AUGUST 2020