Kurdish political activists begin hunger strike in London

View a statement on the hunger strike by Kurdish Federation UK: London hunger strike activists state their demands

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

12.3.12

Several Kurdish activists in London will begin a five-day hunger strike Wednesday 14 March at 8am, in protest against increasing repression in Turkey.

The hunger strike, which will take place on the northern terrace of Trafalgar Square and will end on Saturday 17 March at 5pm, will be undertaken by 20 activists and members of London’s Kurdish community, in parallel with similar actions which have been taking place within Turkey and across Europe.

Hundreds of prisoners in Turkish jails, including imprisoned members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party and other elected officials, have been on hunger strike since the end of February. The hunger strikes are a desperate plea to the Turkish government to halt the latest clampdown on Kurdish political organising and protest. In the last three years, some 8000 people – including elected MP’s mayors and local councillors, journalists, students, human rights activists, and academics – have been sent to prison in what Prime Minister Erdogan’s government refers to as counter-terrorism operations.

In reality, these operations constitute major violations of human rights, with arrests being made over speeches, newspaper articles or even poems that support Kurdish rights in Turkey. Amnesty International has recently expressed it concern over the vague and broad anti-terror laws in Turkey that define terrorism not by its tactics but by its political aims, which has led to thousands of individuals being prosecuted for membership of a terrorist organisation or for denigrating ‘Turkishness’.

The strikers are also demanding freedom for Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who is currently jailed in the prison island of Imrali. Ocalan has been in almost complete isolation, without access to lawyers, since July 2011. Indeed, 36 of his defence team were also arrested and imprisoned in December 2012.

Organised by Fedbir, Kurdish Federation UK. For further information, contact: knklondon@gn.apc.org, 0207 272 4131 or M Aksoy: 07506 702 697

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