Updated: Feb 15, 2022
To: The Democratic Kurdish Federation of Canada January 24, 2019
The International Women’s Alliance is shocked by the treatment of Member of Parliament Leyla Guven, arrested and held without trial for almost one year.
We fully support the hunger strike by Leyla and other political prisoners held in inhumane and illegitimate conditions in the prisons of Turkey and we add our voices to the call for her release. We also support her call for an end of the solitary confinement of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan.
Marie Boti, Vice Chairperson
for the Executive Committee of International Women’s Alliance
January 23, 2019
Update on hunger strikes to protest the isolation of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan
HDP Deputy for Hakkari Ms. Leyla Güven, who had been arrested on 31 January 2018 and since then held under pre-trial detention in Diyarbakir E-type High Security Prison, did start an indefinite hunger strike on 7 November 2018 to protest the politics of isolation imposed on Mr. Abdullah Öcalan at the
Imrali Island Prison. Today is the 77th. day of the strike.
Ms. Güven started her hunger strike specifically saying, “It is known by everybody that the actor in the solution of current social problems of Turkey is Mr. Öcalan. Mr Öcalan has not been able to communicate with his family or lawyers since 2015. I want to emphasize that Mr. Öcalan, who has been held under severe isolation conditions, has a mission to ensure peace for the society of Turkey. In addition, the conditions under which he can fulfill his mission and role must be provided within the framework of national and international law. For these reasons, I declare that I have started on my own free will an indefinite hunger strike until a meeting with Mr. Öcalan is arranged.”
Ms. Güven’s hunger strike has reached a critical level and her health condition is rapidly declining. She has lost 13 kilograms in weight. She has arthralgia and intense headache. She is sensitive to light and sound. Because she has a brain tumor, she cannot take the necessary medicine for her disease; this medicine should be consumed on a full stomach.
In November and December, the hunger strikes spread to 27 prisons in 16 different provinces. Up to know, 104 prisoners have joined the indefinite hunger strike without alternating shifts. There is news that many more prisoners will join the strike in January 2019.
The hunger strikes to support Ms. Güven and protest the isolation of Mr. Öcalan have spread outside the prisons as well. Two-day solidarity hunger strikes were carried out in Diyarbakır, Hakkari, Van, Adana and Urfa provinces on November 17-18, 2018. In early December many other provinces joined for a three-day hunger strike, the police raided some HDP offices and detained activists. Up to know, 208 people who joined the hunger strikes were detained and 5 of these people were arrested.
Following the police raid and subsequent detention of HDP members, HDP deputies decided to go on a hunger strike for 3 days. Co-chair Ms. Pervin Buldan and 9 other deputies have started a two-day hunger strike at the parliament on December 4 to support Leyla Güven and protest the detentions. Afterwards, three-day solidarity hunger strikes were launched by HDP deputies in provinces where the HDP has more than 2 MPs, such as Diyarbakir, Urfa, Batman, Van, and Istanbul.
Democratic Kurdish federation of Canada