4th Kurdish inmate in a week kills self over public silence on hunger strikes

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The fourth Kurdish inmate in a week has committed suicide in protest of the public silence on hunger strikes in several Turkish prisons over the “isolation” of jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Monday.

Twenty-four-year-old Medya Çınar had been in pre-trial detention since May 2016.

She refused to defend herself in any language other than Kurdish during her trial and would not participate in hearings through a video conferencing system in protest of Öcalan’s “isolation,” the report said.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Leyla Güven in November went on a hunger strike when she was jailed on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

Three other HDP deputies are also currently on hunger strikes seeking an improvement in Öcalan’s jail conditions.

The deputies are protesting Öcalan’s inability to speak with his lawyers, referring to it as his “isolation.”

According to the report, Çınar was the fourth Kurd to die by suicide in a week over the “isolation” issue after Zülküf Gezen (33), Ayten Beçet (24) and Zehra Sağlam (23).

On Feb. 20 Uğur Şakar set himself on fire in front of a courtroom in Germany’s Krefeld city in protest of the public silence over the hunger strikes. He succumbed to his injuries on March 22.

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