Hunger-strike Kurdish MP freed in Turkey

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46999128

Photo of Sabiha Temizkan and her mother Leyla Guven tweeted by TemizkanImage copyright
Sabiha Temizkan

Image caption

Sabiha Temizkan (R) tweeted that her mother had been released

A Turkish court has ordered the release of a Kurdish MP who has been on hunger strike for nearly 80 days.

The court in Diyarbakir said Leyla Guven, 55, would be monitored.

She has been in jail for a year following critical remarks about Turkey’s military operation in the predominantly Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria.

She went on hunger strike over the prison conditions of the militant Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Her daughter, Sabiha Temizkan, posted a note on Twitter saying she had been freed.

Few details of the release have been made available and it is unclear whether Ms Guven is already out of prison.

Ms Guven is both an MP for the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and the co-leader of Democratic Society Congress – an assembly of representatives from civil society organisations, political parties, lawyers and human rights defenders.

The Turkish government accuses the congress of being linked to the militant Kurdish PKK group, which has waged an insurgency in Turkey for more than three decades, costing more than 40,000 lives.

Jailed leader

Since 8 November, Ms Guven has consumed only sugary and salty liquids and a complex of B vitamins.

She was suffering from nausea, fever, severe headaches, insomnia and unstable blood pressure.

Sabiha Temizkan told the BBC’s Selin Girit she was very concerned about her mother’s poor health.

Thousands of people attended a rally last weekend in Diyarbakir in support of Ms Guven. More than 250 political prisoners started their own, indefinite hunger strike in solidarity.

Ms Guven’s hunger strike was predominantly to demand an end to the isolation of Abdullah Ocalan, who has been in a high-security prison in Turkey since 1999.

Ms Guven argues that by isolating him and by refusing to allow visits from his family or lawyers, the government has placed major impediments towards maintaining peace in Turkey.