Kurdish MP on hunger strike in Turkey taken to hospital

13 Feb 2019 / 23:07 H.

DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY: A pro-Kurdish lawmaker who has been on hunger strike in Turkey for more than three months, was taken to hospital on Wednesday but she has refused any treatment, a hospital source said.

Leyla Guven, freed last month by a court in the Kurdish-majority Diyarbakir city, started a hunger strike on November 8 while in jail to protest against the prison conditions of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The 55-year-old member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was taken to hospital after her blood pressure went up and she complained of chest pain, the hospital source told AFP.

“Her heartbeat is being monitored at the hospital in the intensive care unit,“ the source said. “She is conscious and refuses to take any treatment.”

Guven was imprisoned last year for criticising Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia in northern Syria which Ankara brands as “terrorists” linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), co-founded by Ocalan.

After her release pending trial, the lawmaker was taken home but vowed to carry on with the strike until the government allows Ocalan to hold regular meetings with his lawyers and family members.

Ocalan has not had access to his lawyers since 2011.

Her action is being supported by over 300 prisoners across Turkey in a show of solidarity, according to the HDP.

Ocalan, who was arrested 20 years ago, is serving a life sentence on Imrali island, close to Istanbul.

His PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union and the United States.

The authorities allowed the PKK leader to meet his brother Mehmet last month, the first visit in over two years. — AFP

Leyla Guven.

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