European Commission spokesman Peter Stano on Saturday said the EU was “deeply saddened” by the death of Ebru Timtik, a Turkish lawyer who succumbed to malnutrition after 238 days of a hunger strike she embarked on to demand a fair trial, Turkish Minute reported.
“She is the fourth prisoner to die this year as the result of a hunger strike, following the deaths of Helin Bölek and Ibrahim Gökçek, two musicians from the Grup Yorum band, and Mustafa Koçak. We offer our condolences to their families,” the statement read.
Timtik had been in prison since September 12, 2018 on charges of membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C). She was accused of “communicating the organization’s messages to captured members and acting as a courier.” The case was based on the testimony of a secret witness who has been used by the prosecution in a variety of cases. The DHKP/C is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.
On March 20, 2019 the Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court sentenced Timtik to 13 years, six months. Her case was awaiting review by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals.
“The tragic outcome of their fight for a fair trial painfully illustrates the urgent need for the Turkish authorities to credibly address the human rights situation in the country, which has severely deteriorated in recent years, as well as serious shortcomings observed in the judiciary,” Stano said in addressing Turkish authorities.
Stano called for “concrete progress” on the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.