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Kurdish hunger-strikers continue occupation of Amnesty International's HQ

Twenty-three activists are calling on the human rights charity to end its silence on Turkey’s abuses of prisoners, including the solitary confinement of Kurdistan Workers’ Party founder Abdullah Ocalan

KURDISH hunger strikers continued their occupation of Amnesty International’s London headquarters for a second day today despite attempts by the group to naturally evict activists.

The 23 activists voiced anger over the human rights charity’s silence on Turkey’s abuses of prisoners, including the solitary confinement of Kurdistan Workers’ Party founder Abdullah Ocalan.

More than 7,000 Kurds around the world — the majority political prisoners in Turkey — are on hunger strike to highlight Mr Ocalan’s isolation on an island in the Sea of Marmara.

Mr Ocalan has not been allowed to see his lawyer since 2011.

Amnesty previously called the police to forcibly remove the protesters but later backed down, according to campaigners, and are now refusing to allow protesters back inside the building once they leave the premises to use public toilets.

Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign tweeted that Amnesty was preventing Kurdish protesters from using the toilets in the HQ building, opening windows or drinking water.

It said: “Three of the protesters are on day 41 of hunger strike. Amnesty is supposed to speak up on behalf of prisoners of conscience but ignores thousands of political prisoners in Turkey.”

Activists are also accusing Amnesty spokeswoman Milena Buyum of acting as an ambassador of the Turkish state and say Amnesty has denied that Mr Ocalan is being held in isolation and claims it is unaware of hunger strikers in Turkish prisons.

Spokeswoman for the activists Eylem Ozdemir told the Star that Amnesty had not met the demands they had asked from them even following meetings they held with representatives.

“They have told us that they need to look over the evidence we have provided them with and get back to us,” Ms Ozdemir said.

“Police have blocked the doors, there are 23 of us locked inside. It’s a psychological attempt to make us finish our protest but we are 100 per cent sure to continue until we reach our demands.”

Ms Ozdemir said the activists believe that Amnesty has an agreement with the Turkish government.

“They have connections and do not want to come face to face with the Turkish government,” she added.

Protesters from multiple Kurdish activist groups, including the Kurdish People’s Assembly, Gik-Der and Roj Women, are also demanding that Amnesty make an urgent appeal to the world regarding the Turkish state’s actions, and have called on the Turkish government to respect the human rights of their citizens.


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