The 42nd vigil outside the women’s prison in the western Turkish town of Gebze has also been violently attacked by the police. Several mothers of prisoners were injured and arrested.
The vigil in front of the women’s prison in the western Turkish industrial city of Gebze (Kocaeli province) has been violently attacked by the police again. Relatives of political prisoners have been demonstrating for 42 days in order to draw attention to the now life-threatening health conditions of their children on hunger strike in prison.
The prisoners – around 7,000 since March 1 – are joining a massive hunger strike action to lift the isolation conditions of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and to resume peace talks between the Turkish government and the PKK.
In today’s assault, several mothers have been injured after being forcibly dragged out of place by police officers. In addition, HDP district chairperson in Gebze, Damla Bağcı, and Dilara Özgeçen were taken into custody. HDP MP Ayşe Sürücü was also battered by the police.
For the first time in almost eight years, Öcalan’s lawyers visited their client on May 2 on Imrali prison island. Last week, the Turkish government announced that they had lifted Öcalan’s ban on contact in April. The prisoners, however, continue to see the ban in effect as only one visit has been approved since the decision and have announced that they will continue the hunger strike until the isolation is completely lifted. After the visit two weeks ago, no further contact with Abdullah Öcalan could take place despite daily new requests for visits by the family and lawyers of the Kurdish leader.