Statement on the hunger strikes to end Abdullah Ocalan’s isolation

Leyla Guven

On 8 November 2018 Leyla Guven, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy for Hakkari and Democratic Society Party (DTK) Co-chair, began a hunger strike demanding the end of the isolation of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. Ocalan has been held in prison on Imrali Island by the Turkish state for over 20 years. The last time he had a visit from lawyers was on 27 July 2011. Since then all his communications with the outside world have been prohibited, except for two very brief ‘proof of life’ meetings with his brother.  Thousands of political prisoners have now joined the hunger strike with the same demand. Three hundred and thirty-five prisoners in 67 prisons joined the hunger strike on different days since 16 December 2018. Thousands more people, inside and outside prisons, in Turkey, across Europe and elsewhere have declared that they would start their own irreversible and indefinite hunger strike since 1 March 2019. Three members of the Kurdish community in London have started a hunger strike. In Wales Iman Sis has, at the time of writing, been on hunger strike in Newport for 103 days. We demand that the British government and the European Council intervene with the Turkish government to stop the isolation of Abdullah Ocalan and that they send representatives to meet with him.    


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