REPUBLIC OF TURKEY: Respect the rights of hunger strikers

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9 Nov 2012
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Refugees and Migrants

Kurds demonstrate in Paris in support of Ocalan during (C)AI
Kurds demonstrate in Paris in support of Ocalan during (C)AI

Amnesty International is concerned at reports the Turkish authorities are failing to respect the rights of prisoners on hunger strike.

Hundreds of prisoners continue to be on hunger strike across dozens of prisons in Turkey, some of them since 12 September. The hunger strikes were initiated as a protest against the authorities’ longstanding refusal to allow Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan to meet with his lawyers and to demand the provision of education in Kurdish.

The hunger strikers are engaging in a peaceful form of protest and the Turkish authorities have an obligation to respect the right to freedom of expression of the prisoners, including their right to protest in such a manner.

Amnesty International is further concerned at reports prisoners on hunger strike in Silivri and Sakran prisons have been placed in solitary confinement, and guards at Tekirdag prison were ill-treating prisoners, as a result of their participation in the hunger strike protests.

There are also reports that prison authorities have, at times, restricted prisoners’ access to drinking water and to sugar, salt, vitamins and other supplements added to the drinking water consumed by the hunger strikers.

Amnesty International calls on the Turkish authorities to ensure that no punitive measures are taken against prisoners on hunger strike and the absolute prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment is upheld.

The hunger striking prisoners must be provided with adequate access to qualified health professionals and any treatment that they might require. The Turkish authorities should further conduct prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into allegations that prisoners in Silivri, Sakran and Tekirdag prison were ill-treated, or otherwise punished for their participation in the hunger strikes.

24 October 2012

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