For immediate release

 13 January 2019, Diyarakir, Turkey

 The health of Hakkari 55 year old MP Leyla Güven, who started a hunger strike on 8 November 2018, has reached a life-threatening stage.

Leyla Güven, who is on the 67th day of a hunger strike, has become too weak to  meet with her lawyers.

Leyla has a brain tumour.

She has other health problems such as aphasia, sensitivity to sound and light and blurring of consciousness.

She embarked upon a hunger strike to try and end the prison isolation inflicted on 70 year old Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Abducted in 1999, Abdullah Öcalan has been held in Imrali Prison Island in Turkey with 3 other prisoners.

In 2015 after Turkey collapsed peace negotiations, the Turkish Government withdrew all visitation rights and has refused to allow Abdullah Öcalan make  phone calls, in fact he has only being allowed to write “3” letters in 20 years.

In almost 3.5 yrs no one from the outside world has been granted permission to see Abdullah Öcalan.

Indeed his lawyer has been denied access since 2011.

Today, 12th Jan. 2019 there are 262 Kurdish prisoners on hunger strike demanding an end once and for all to the illegal policy of prison isolation.

Attacks against prisoners on hunger strike involve cell confinements and disciplinary punishments which are worsening the situation in the jails.

The situation of Leyla Güven has reached a critical stage, a stage that can no longer be delayed, ignored or neglected by the international Community.


We representatives from Italy, Ireland and Britain call for the unlawful prison policy of isolation to end.Image may contain: 3 people, including Margaret Owen, people smiling, people standing, glasses, close-up and indoor

After our meetings today it’s clear to us that ending the illegal policy of prison isolation is key to advancing the peace process.

Leyla Güven faces over 31 years in prison for simply being critical of the Turkish regime. She rightly condemned the Turkish invasion of Afrin and other Human Rights abuses.

During the attack on Afrin, war crimes were committed with civilians being routinely targeted and alarming reports of shoot to kill, rape, looting and kidnapping; military personal acted above the law and did so with impunity.

The Turkish Government must stop the torture,  respect freedom of speech, uphold the rule of law, and appreciate the role of democratically elected representatives.

It should also respect its own laws and release MP Leyla Güven and embrace an opportunity to advance the peace process. The only solution to the Kurdish issue is peaceful and democratic dialogue, not isolation and imprisonment.

Martina Anderson Irish MEP Sinn Féin GUE/NGL

Julie Ward MEP British Labour S&D, Patron Peace in Kurdistan

Margaret Owen O.B.E UK Human Rights Lawyer, Patron Peace in Kurdistan

Rossella Santi Italian Human Rights Lawyer

Wendy Lyons Irish Human Rights Lawyer

Simonetta Crisci Italian Human Rights Lawyer




For information contact


Martina Anderson MEP

ANDERSON Martina <>



Margaret Owen

Margaret Owen

07770 945916