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Leyla Guven rushed to hospital

HUNGER-STRIKING Kurdish MP Leyla Guven refused medical treatment after she was rushed to hospital today, having collapsed with chest pains following a press conference.

She fell ill as members of an international peace delegation of trade unionists, MPs and other supporters were about to give a press statement outside her house in the the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir and an ambulance was called.

Her daughter Sabiha Temizkan issued an impassioned plea after Ms Guven’s admission to hospital, saying: “Please don’t let her die. Please!”

The opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Hakarri is understood to have been conscious and to have refused medical intervention. She had previously insisted that her hunger strike would be a “death fast” unless her demands were met.

Ms Guven began her hunger strike on November 8 in protest at Kurdistan Workers Party leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been imprisoned on Imrali island since 1999, being kept in isolation.

She was initially arrested in January last year after making statements opposing Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of Afrin in northern Syria.

The parliamentarian has been charged with spreading terrorist propaganda and  “establishing and managing an armed terrorist organisation.” If convicted, she faces more than 31 years in prison.

Her action has inspired a global movement of solidarity and more than 200 political prisoners in Turkish prisons have also gone on hunger strike.

Authorities fearing the growth in support for Ms Guven, barred a European delegation, including Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, from visiting Ms Guven in prison last month.

Earlier this week, police obstructed a march led by HDP MPs in Istanbul in support of Ms Guven, leading to allegations that the whole country is under blockade and human rights are being ignored.

In an unexpected move, she was released from Diyarbakir prison on January 25, in what was seen as a bid by the Turkish state to break the hunger strikes.

However, Ms Guven insisted she would continue her action, saying that she had not started the hunger strike to win her freedom but to end the isolation of Mr Ocalan and all political prisoners.

Ms Temizkan said: “My mother #LeylaGüven has felt faint on the 98th day of her hunger strike. We are in hospital; she doesn’t accept intervention. 

“She is in intensive care now and they can only check her cardiac rhythm. My mother says she want to go home despite her serious condition. Please don’t let her die!”


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