Imprisoned HDP co-leader Demirtas to join dozens of other prisoners on hunger strike

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and lawmaker Abdullah Zeydan, who have been in prison since November, are to go on hunger strike on Friday.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in prison since November, is to begin a hunger strike on Friday.

According to a statement by the HDP, the hunger strike by Demirtas and another party lawmaker, Abdullah Zeydan in Edirne Prison, will be launched in solidarity with dozens of other Kurdish hunger strikers in prisons across the country.

“Due to the approach of the prison warden at Edirne Prison, who refuses dialogue, the unlawful and anti-humane practices against other prisoners and the lack of goodwill steps to end the hunger strikes, we too, from Friday onwards, will go on hunger strike.

“We appeal to the public to display sensitivity regarding the hunger strikes and violations of rights continuing in prisons,” the message from Demirtas and Zeydan read.

Another HDP deputy, Besime Konca, imprisoned in Kandira Prison has been on hunger strike for five days said the HDP.

Prisoners are demanding an end to rights violations in prisons and the lifting of the isolation imposed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. A return to negotiations for a political solution to the Kurdish question is also amongst demands.

The health conditions of hunger strikers who started the protest more than 40 days ago on 15 February is deteriorating according to reports from human rights organisations and lawyers.

Update: 11:56 (CET): Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-leader Sebahat Tuncel will also join the hunger strike on Friday.