No end to ordeal for imprisoned journalists


Reporters Without Borders very concerned about imprisoned journalists on hunger strike
Reporters Without Borders is very worried about at least nine imprisoned journalists and other employees of Kurdish news media whose physical condition is deteriorating because they have been on hunger strike for several weeks.

“The situation is serious,” Reporters Without Borders said. “These people are gradually approaching their death. Before it is too late, we urge all parties to take a positive approach that allows a resolution of the differences that drove the detainees to go on hunger strike. The authorities must handle this situation in a humane and responsible manner.

“The search for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue and an improvement in the media freedom situation are closely linked. We reiterate our call for the immediate release of all journalists and media workers who are currently in prison because of their work.”
According to the justice ministry, a total of 682 detainees in 67 prisons are currently on hunger strike. They are demanding the right to use the Kurdish language in Turkish courts and an end to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned on Imrali Island for the past 13 years.

The hunger strikers, reminded RSF, include at least nine journalists and media workers. The condition of Tayip Temel, the former managing editor of the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat, is particularly worrying. On hunger strike since 12 September in Diyarbakir, he is reportedly no longer able to drink or speak and is said to be suffering from internal bleeding and loss of sensory perception.

Fatma Koçak of the news agency DIHA and Ayse Oyman of the daily Özgür Gündem, who are both in Istanbul’s Bakirköy prison for women, have been on hunger strike since 24 September. Two other women, Pelvin Yerlikaya Babir of DIHA, held in Bakirköy, and Faysal Tunç of DIHA, held in Kalkandere prison in the northeastern province of Rize, have been on hunger strike since 15 October.

Selahattin Aslan of Demokratik Modernite, held in Kandira, in the western Marmara region, and Sahabettin Demir of DIHA, detained in the northeastern province of Giresun, have also been on strike since 15 October, while Mehmet Emin Yildirim of Azadiya Welat and Ömer Faruk Caliskan of Özgür Halk, held in Kandira, have also taken up the protest. Intellectuals and journalists of various political views, including Vedat Türkali, Garo Paylan, Aydin Engin, Ahmet Sik and Ertugrul Mavioglu, have voiced deep concern about their colleagues on hunger strike.


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