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Wed 22 May 2019
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Kurdish Hunger Strikers Occupy Amnesty International HQ to Demand Action on Turkish State Torture

By Ross Morris

30 protestors including Kurdish Hunger Strikers and activists from the Kurdish Solidarity Network have occupied the London headquarters of Amnesty International.

The occupiers are protesting against Amnesty International because of the organisation’s failure to advocate for Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey, who are thought to be being held under conditions that amount to torture.

Amnesty have thus far not agreed to meet the occupiers’ demands. But have promised to review the documents handed to them by protestors.

They are demanding that Amnesty International calls on the Turkish Government to end the isolation and solitary confinement of political prisoners, including Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Öcalan, who has been imprisoned on Imrali Island by the Turkish state since 1999, has been held in solitary confinement for 9 years. In that time, he has not been allowed to see his family or his lawyers.

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“We demand that Amnesty International make an urgent appeal to the world regarding the actions of the Turkish government,” said one activist who did not want to be named. “Until these demands are met, these activists will continue their occupation and hunger strike.”

“The hunger strikes have reached a critical point and we must act now to get institutions such as Amnesty international and mainstream media to take action,” he said.

The protest at Amnesty comes after nearly 5 months of hunger strikes, with over 7000 Kurds on indefinite hunger strike around the world.

2 of the activists occupying Amnesty HQ have themselves been on hunger strike for 41 days. They are supported by 6 others who have staged a hunger strike during the occupation. 50 more activists are posted outside with Kurdish flags and banners featuring the image of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Amnesty have thus far not agreed to meet the occupiers’ demands. But have promised to review the documents handed to them by protestors.

“They’re using delaying tactics,” said the same unnamed activist. “There basic stance is that they will look at the documents we submitted and get back to you.”

But the protestors remain unconvinced by Amnesty’s promises: “They said ‘we’ll meet with you next week’ and we said ‘we’ll wait here until next week’.”

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