Opposition HDP co-leader Demirtas and other prisoners end 35 day hunger strike

Selahattin Demirtas and Abdullah Zeydan have been imprisoned in Edirne Maximum Security Prison since 4th November.

Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and other Kurdish prisoners ended a 35-day hunger strike in Edirne Prison after authorities promised to resolve issues relating to prison conditions and rights violations.

Demirtas and another HDP lawmaker Abdullah Zeydan’s hunger strike lasted less than 24 hours. The pair had joined the protest to draw public attention and pressure prison authorities into meeting demands.

In a message to the HDP, the imprisoned politicians said the hunger strike, which had been ongoing since 25 February had ended after a meeting between the prison management and protestors had yielded results.

“We also request that the Prisons General Director and Justice Minister engage in dialogue with other prisoners on hunger strike across Turkish prisons to end those strikes as well,” the statement read.

More than 100 people are still thought to be on hunger strike against “unlawful” and “inhumane” practices in prisons since 15 February.

Political prisoners are being forced to wear tags with “terrorist” written on them, are not being allowed books other than holy texts and have been subjected to torture by guards, human rights organisations and lawyers have said.

HDP officials are expected to meet Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on Monday to discuss conditions in prisons.

13 HDP lawmakers are currently jailed in Turkey alongside hundreds of party officials and more than a thousand members.