İHD Updated Report on the Ongoing Hunger Strikes in Turkish Prisons

Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned in İmralı Prison as a convicted prisoner, has not been able to confer with his lawyers since 27 July 2011[1] while he has not been able to meet with the HDP delegation since 5 April 2015. His relatives’ and legal guardian’s requests for visitation have also been overturned. The indefinite and non-alternate hunger strikes, initiated by Leyla Güven on 8 November 2018, have been maintained by about 3,000 inmates in 90 prisons in Turkey according to our data. Leyla Güven was released on 25 January 2019 and continues her hunger strike at home. Leyla Güven is currently on the 180th day of her hunger strike.

Former HDP deputies Sebahat Tuncel and Selma Irmak have been on indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike since 15 January 2019 in Kandıra F-Type Prison No. 1, while HDP Diyarbakır deputy Dersim Dağ has been on indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike since 3 March 2019 and HDP Van deputies Tayip Temel and Murat Sarısaç have been on indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike since 8 March 2019 at HDP’s Diyarbakır offices.

Moreover, 8 persons who have took their own lives in order to protest isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Prison have left us in great agony. We would like to reiterate that acts of claiming one’s own life cannot be accepted in any way and the right to life is one that should be absolutely protected.

Uğur Şakar took his own life on 21 February 2019 in Germany; Zülküf Gezen took his own life on 17 March 2019 in Tekirdağ F-Type Prison No. 2; Ayten Beçet took her own life on 23 March 2019 in Gebze M-Type Women’s Closed Prison; Zehra Sağlam took her own life on 24 March 2019 in Erzurum Oltu T-Type Prison; Medya Çınar took her own life on 25 March 2019 in Mardin E-Type Closed Prison; Yonca Akıcı took her own life on 29 March 2019 in Şakran Women’s Closed Prison; Siraç Yüksek took his own life on 2 April 2019 in Osmaniye T-Type Prison No. 2, and Masum Pamay took his own life on 5 April 2019 in Elazığ T-Type Prison. We have also been informed that prisoner Abdullah Turan leapt to his death in Trabzon Prison in an apparent act of suicide attempt and he had fractures in his neck and shoulders, he was taken into surgery and in a critical condition.

Indefinite and non-alternate hunger strikes by about 3,000 prisoners in 90 prisons have reached a critical point. Independent delegations and independent physicians should be allowed to go in prisons both to monitor the health conditions of hunger strikers and to set forth that their demands are heard by the public. The political power needs to acknowledge its liability about this issue and meet these demands in no time.

While 2,983 prisoners in 90 prisons are on an indefinite and non-alternate hunger strike, 15 persons among these prisoners have declared on 30 April 2019 to the public that they would continue their hunger strike until they die.

[1] According to some news reports today, Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers have stated that they met with their clients on 2 May 2019.

Click to read the full report: Hunger Strikes_Updated Report_6 May 2019