Turkey court orders release of hunger striking MP

Twitter / Sabiha Temizkan

A Turkish court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir ruled for the release of Kurdish MP Leyla Guven, who has been on hunger strike for 79 days.

The MP elected on behalf of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was jailed after being arrested in January 2018 for criticising Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces in northwest Syria. Guven was elected as member of parliament for the southeastern province of Hakkari in the last general elections. A Turkish court had ordered her release on 29 June however the decision was overturned on appeal. Her lawyers applied for her release after she was elected on the grounds that she had immunity from prosecution.

Guven, 54, began her hunger strike over the prison conditions of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. Ocalan has been barred from meeting his lawyers and has only had limited family visits since the peace process fell through in 2015. Ocalan’s brother was allowed to visit during January but Guven proceeded with her hunger strike.

The MP consumed only sugary and salty liquids and a complex of B vitamins since she began the hunger strike on 8 November.

Guven’s daughter, Sabiha Temizkan posted on Twitter that the court ruled in favour of Guven’s release.

The MP is also the co-leader of Democratic Society Congress – an assembly of representatives from civil society organisations, political parties, lawyers and human rights defenders.