the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation
would like to reiterate my call for an end to this harmful practice. We,
in Defend International, reite... Read More ...
Dr Akrawi Awarded For Bridging Gap Between Civilizations
Akrawi, President of Defend International, has been awarded by the National Organization
for Future Generations, based in Algeria, to thank her for being a passionate
advocate of bridgin... Read More ...
DI 2013: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
Defend International has joined over 5,000 NGOs from over 150 countries around the globe to mark the 16 Days of
Activisim Against Gender Based Violence, which starts on November 25 and ends
on Dece... Read More ...
DI Reiterates its Commitment Towards a Global Ban on Use of Cluster Munitions
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delegation of Defend International attended the International
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Turkey: The Rights of Prisoners on Hunger Strike Must be Respected
Written by DI Monitoring & Investigation Committee
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Art work of DI member Kane Alan
Defend International (DI) is alarmed by reports that hundreds
of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey have started a hunger strike to
protest prison conditions, unfair trial practices and racial discrimination
while the Turkish authorities
continue to deny the prisoners access to qualified medical care. DI urges
the authorities to provide the prisoners access to qualified medical care, and
anyone in serious condition must be referred instantly to a hospital where the necessary treatment should begin promptly.
Also on this page, read parts of
the speech delivered by Mr. William Nygaard, from the Norwegian PEN, following his
recent visit to Silivri Prison in Turkey. You can also be directed to Norway's largest newspaper, Aften Posten, to read an article written by Mr. Nygaard and Mr. Eugene Schoulgin from the PEN
International, entitled: The Lawless Turkey:Violations of Common Legal Practice and the Crackdown on Freedom of Speech
Continues Reaching New Heights in Turkey.
25 October 2012
DI Calls upon the Turkish Authorities to Engage in
Dialogue with the Prisoners on Hunger Strike
(Oslo) - Defend International urges Turkey to put an end to all forms of
harassment, torture, and inhumane treatment against the prisoners on hunger
strike, and to provide them access to qualified medical care.
International is alarmed by reports that hundreds of Kurdish political
prisoners have started an open hunger strike, and the Turkish authorities continue
to ignore the rights of prisoners who are protesting against trail conditions,
unfair practices and violations of human rights, including racial
discrimination in trails. On September 12, 2012 the hunger strike was initiated
in 7 prisons with 63 prisoners, of which 13 were women. Now, the hunger strike
has grown to more than 770 prisoners detained in dozens
of prisons. Among the prisoners are politicians, journalists, mayors, members
of the parliament and city councils, as well as civil society activists. After
having submitted numerous petitions to the authorities, they have resorted to a
hunger strike in an attempt to get the attention of the government. Their demands
right to education and legal defense in mother tongue, and recognition of the
Kurds' democratic rights.
DI is deeply concerned that many
prisoners on hunger strike have been punished with solitary confinement, and
that the guards are using excessive force and punitive measures, such as denying
prisoners' access to drinking water, sugar, and vitamins, aiming to force the
prisoners to break their hunger strike.
is calling for urgent intervention by the Turkish authorities in order to immediately
put an end to all forms of harassment, torture, and inhumane treatment against the
prisoners on hunger strike. President of Defend International, Dr. Widad Akrawi, said
to date, Turkish officials have not taken any steps to thoroughly and
impartially investigate these allegations, follow where evidence leads, and hold
those responsible accountable for their actions. They have also failed to engage
in peaceful negotiations with the prisoners. We urge the authorities to provide,
without delay, the prisoners access to qualified medical care, and anyone in serious condition must be referred instantly to a qualified health professional
or a hospital where the necessary treatment should begin promptly."
upon the Turkish authorities to ensure that conditions of detention conform to
international standards for the treatment of prisoners, to engage in dialogue
with the prisoners, and to pay heed to their requests.
It bears mentioning that the Kurds in
Turkey have suffered from systematic repression characterized by grave
violations of their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in addition to death in custody under
torture, disappearances, widespread arbitrary arrests, torture and other cruel,
inhuman treatment or punishment.
Result of DI Action:
November 18, 2012 the prisoners ended their 68-day hunger strike.
Turkish government has agreed to present a bill to the parliament to allow
the Kurds to use their own language in court.
its sincere appreciation to DI member organizations, DI Defenders,
subscribers, and friends for their solidarity and for supporting this
action and making the voice of prisoners heard.
To visit the Norwegian
PEN for a quick preview of the article or to read a speech delivered by Mr.
William Nygaard following his visit to Silivri Prison on 3 November 2012, click
Nygaard states in his speech: "On
my first prison visit, to Visilri, here in March I became a personal witness to
the way oppression works. As you know, but the rest of the world had better
know, we see prisoners who have spent years in jail before their cases were
brought to trial. We were sitting in on one of these mass trials which takes
place frequently. During the break wemanaged to talk to some of the accused, shouting at each other from a
distance. This way of communication is forbidden since then, I have heard. They
came from different professions: Two publishers, two journalists and writers,
one owner of a TV-station, one general, one dean at a university, one computer
expert etc. They had been robbed of years of their lives.....
kind of impression will Turkey create in the international community, when
these shortcomings are known, and when we hear about clampdowns on freedom of
expression - in literature, journalism, music, art and photography? What happens
when we read about the double standards practised in the handling of the Kurd
question? Is Turkey, even with a new constitution, going to remain a hybrid
rather than a true democracy - seemingly lacking the will to solve their most
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