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Hunger striker ‘walks into immortality’ after 297 days on hunger strike in a Turkish prison

Mustafa Kocak was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment last July based on the testimony of a government informer

MUSTAFA KOCAK “walked into immortality” as he died in a Turkish prison today morning on the 297th day of his hunger strike for a right to a fair trial.

Representatives from the People’s Law Office (HHB) confirmed his death in a statement saying: “Our client Mustafa Kocak has been martyred on the 297th day of his death fast.

“Mustafa walked into immortality, wasting away cell by cell and resisting for the right to a fair trial.

“Know that the government slaughtered Mustafa to avoid listening to a witness in the hearing. We bow respectfully before his memory.”

Mr Kocak was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment – with no prospect of parole –  in July 2019 after claims that he had been involved in the kidnap of public prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, despite a lack of concrete evidence.

He was accused by the authorities of being a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front — deemed a terrorist organisation in Turkey.

But the case against him was based on the testimony of a government informer, Berk Ercan, whose evidence has been used to jail at least 346 people related to anti-government protests.

When he was first detained in 2017, Mr Kocak described being subjected to physical and psychological torture with his interrogators threatening to rape his pregnant sister unless he gave a statement, which he refused.

A harrowing recording detailed the last conversation with his family as they pleaded for him to hold on, with his parents saying they would sacrifice their lives for him. But he said that he couldn’t last much longer.

“My whole body is swollen, and my stomach. I haven’t been able to breathe for the last two days,” he said.

Mr Kocak is the second person to die on hunger strike this month. Grup Yorum singer Helin Bolek passed away after 288 days of hunger strike.

Tributes poured in from across the political spectrum with the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) insisting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his friends would be known as the “government where people die for justice.”

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu said that all Mr Kocak wanted was a fair trial.

“They didn’t even give him that. He is the latest victim of an unjust judiciary. His family fought hard for him. They couldn’t make it.

“They couldn’t make themselves heard by the people. Those who have a conscience will have an ache in them, those who don't have already turned a blind eye. The voices of justice have drowned.”


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