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Kurdish man dies from injuries after setting himself on fire in Germany

A KURDISH man who set fire to himself in Germany last month in protest at the treatment of jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan has died from his injuries.

Ugur Sakar doused himself with a liquid and set himself on fire in front of the courthouse in the western city of Krefeld in February in protest at the continued isolation of Mr Ocalan and was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

“According to witnesses, he said he was protesting against the detention of Ocalan and against German police violence,” a police statement said at the time.

Mr Sakar’s action came days after the 20th anniversary of what supporters described as the “illegal abduction of Mr Ocalan” from Kenya carried out with the aid of Western intelligence agencies, which led to his subsequent incarceration in Turkey.

As many as 5,000 are believed to have joined a hunger strike campaign in Turkish prisons in protest at Mr Ocalan’s “continued isolation” initiated by People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP Leyla Guven on November 8, 2018.

Earlier this week Zulkuf Gezen became the first hunger striker to die after hanging himself in prison. 

Police blocked HDP MPs who had rushed to Diyarbakir from attending his funeral, turning water cannon on mourners gathered outside the cemetery.

In a letter penned before his protest action Mr Sakar saluted his comrades on hunger strike “who love enough to die for life.”

He said it was his “duty to resist injustice” against those who want to destroy the Kurdish people.

Mr Sakar explained his action was “a protest against the European countries, which they call the cradle of so-called democracy.”

“I would like to invite each Kurdish person to fight for a free life, rather than being a slave. We will definitely win,” the letter concluded.

Local elections will take place in Turkey on March 31.

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