A Turkish lawyer demanding a fair trial after being charged with membership of a terrorist organization has died in an Istanbul hospital on the 238th day of her hunger strike.
Friends said Ebru Timtik weighed just 30 kilogrammes (65 pounds) at the time of her death, which has sparked condemnation from opposition parties in Turkey.
“Ebru Timtik, who has been on hunger strike for 238 days demanding fair trial, became a martyr!” the People's Law Bureau, a leftist lawyers' organization mainly focused on Turkey's political cases, announced on Twitter late Thursday.
Timtik was a member of the Contemporary Lawyers' Association (CHD), another leftist group accused of having close ties to the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a far-left Marxist organization.
The DHKP-C has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in Turkey, including a 2013 suicide bombing at the US embassy in Ankara, which killed a Turkish security guard.
#EbruTimtik, a human rights lawyer, who started a hunger strike in prison demanding a fair trial and justice, died in Istanbul on the 238th day of her hunger strike. #Justice4Ebru pic.twitter.com/e3oCCzhgvq— International Observatory of Human Rights (@observatoryihr) August 28, 2020
In 2019, an Istanbul court handed multiple sentences to 18 lawyers, including Timtik, on charges of “forming and running a terror group” and “membership in a terror group.”
Timtik, who had been initially detained in September 2018, was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison, which prompted her and some other lawyers to start a hunger strike in February.
She had been jailed in Silivri - a huge court and prison complex on the outskirts of Istanbul.
Last October, an appeals court unheld the lawyers' jail sentences.
Hunger strike in Turkish prison
Timtik, who turned her hunger strike into a death fast together with another lawyer, Aytac Unsal, was moved from the prison to a hospital in July.
The pair were consuming only liquids and vitamins, and a forensic report showed at the time that their condition was “not suitable” for a continued stay in prison.
A few dozen people were waiting Friday outside an Istanbul forensic lab which was examining her body.
Police heightened security measures around the building, according to an AFP reporter.
The death of Timtik, who friends said was born in 1978, has been condemned by opposition parties.
We are sorry to announce that we lost Ebru Timtik. We are sad, angry, disappointed. We, from all over the world, tried our best, but as a result of injustice, the dysfunctional judicial system of Turkey, we could not get her from their hands. We shall never forget her fight. pic.twitter.com/Dw3ymqRVae— AED (Avocats Européens Démocrates) (@AED_EDL) August 27, 2020
“Ebru Timtik was massacred by the tyrants in power!” Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Garo Paylan said in a tweet.
Turkey has in the past seen hunger strikes launched by left-leaning political groups.
Last year, thousands of prisoners ended their hunger strike against the conditions of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan around 200 days after launching their fast.