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Kurdish political parties call for end to hunger strike-related suicides in prison

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The co-chairs of four Kurdish political parties have come together in Diyarbakır to call for an end to political suicides in Turkey’s prisons after four Kurdish inmates took their lives in a week, the BirGün newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“Whatever the reason might be, we reaffirm that we do not condone ending one’s own life,” said Pervin Buldan, co-chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), after discussing the issue with co-chairs of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK).

The statement came after a fourth Kurdish inmate in a week died by 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.

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, which they refer to as his “isolation.”

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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