by New Worker correspondent
MEMBERS of London’s Kurdish community and their supporters held a protest picket in the heart of the capital last week to show their support for Kurdish political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey. Kurdish campaigners also took their message to the headquarters of Amnesty International that week to call on Amnesty to speak out against the grave human rights violations suffered by Kurds in Turkey.
On 15th February around 400 political prisoners in Turkey began an indefinite hunger strike to demand justice for jailed Kurdish Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Ocalan and to raise awareness of the continued persecution of the Kurds in Turkey. Within weeks, solidarity actions were taking place across prisons in Turkey and in Europe, with 15 Kurds from across Europe gathering in Strasbourg on hunger strike in solidarity with their compatriots in Turkey while the number joining the protest in Turkish prisoners has now topped 1,500.
The strikers’ demands are clear. Ocalan has now been isolated from the outside world, with no visit, letters or phone calls, since July 2011 – a total of 260 days. The Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Europe has both the authority and the responsibility to ensure that he is not being subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment on the prison island of Imrali, where he has been held since 1999.
For his removal from isolation and for renewed dialogue for a negotiated settlement to the Kurdish conflict, these striking prisoners, politicians and solidarity activists are willing to put their own health on the line, but they need support.