Following the Court of Cassation’s decision to release him, Aytaç Ünsal left hospital on a stretcher and said: “We will win!”
He was released from the Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital in İstanbul on the 213th day of his death fast demanding a ‘fair’ trial.
Deciding to suspend the execution and release of Ünsal’s sentence “until he recovers”, the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation ruled that he should be released.
The decision noted that: “[A]s it has been understood that the continued stay of the defendant in prison conditions will be life threatening; as per the Article 16/2 of the Law no. 5275, it has been ruled that the execution of the sentence shall be halted until the defendant recovers and it shall be ensured that the defendant be immediately released if he is not arrested or convicted on another charge”.
The People’s Law Bureau (HHB) shared this communication on Twitter: “With its decision dated today, the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation has released the lawyer of our bureau, Aytaç Ünsal. With this decision, those who did not release Ebru Timtik have once again declared that they are the murderers of our Ebru”.
Ünsal’s family and friends met him in the gardens of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Hospital. Upon his release, he said: “It has happened, thanks to the labour and love of you all. It happened with all your efforts, all your support. I love you all very much. We will win”.
After that, Ünsal travelled to the HHB.
Aytaç Ünsal had been on a death fast for two hundred and eleven days. Ünsal’s demand was and is for a ‘fair’ trial. He had been charged with membership of a ‘terrorist’ organisation, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C), along with eighteen lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD).
Aytaç is the member of the ÇHD. Its lawyers were sentenced to prison terms of over 159 years on 20 March, based on the statements of a witness.
After the trial, Aytaç Ünsal and another lawyer, Ebru Timtik, began their hunger strikes, one after another. Ünsal had been sentenced to ten years and six months imprisonment and Timtik had been given thirteen years and six months. The lawyers turned their hunger strikes into death fasts on 5 April.
Timtik died on the 238th day of her death fast, on 25 August.