Call for UK Government to intervene as hunger striker Imam Sis's condition becomes 'critical'

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Plaid Cymru have called on the UK Government to intervene ‘with urgency’  following the sudden deterioration of the Kurdish Welshman Imam Sis from Newport who has been on an indefinite hunger strike since 17 December.

The hunger strikes, triggered by Leyla Güven, a democratically elected Kurdish MP to the Turkish parliament and who has now been on hunger strike for over 176 days, are calling for an end to the isolation of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) has been held mostly in solitary confinement by Turkey since 1999, and has been denied access to lawyers and family.

Plaid Cymru AM and shadow international affairs minister Delyth Jewell said that the responsibility now falls on the UK Government to intervene to save Imam’s life.

The party is currently collecting signatures for a cross-party letter to Mr Jeremy Hunt on the issue.

Plaid Cymru shadow international affairs minister Delyth Jewell AM said,

“I have been made aware today that the condition of my constituent Imam Sis, who has been on hunger strike for 137 days, has deteriorated and is now critical.

“Turkey is a signatory to several international human rights treaties, including the European Convention of Human Rights as a member of the Council of Europe. The conditions in which Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan is held are understood to contravene the Turkish state’s legal obligations in relation to human rights. The hunger strikers’ only request is that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) investigate any potential human rights abuses against Ocalan.

“The responsibility now falls on the UK Government and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP to intervene and write to the ECPT with urgency regarding any possible human rights abuses. One person deprived of democracy and human rights is the same as all of us being deprived. Fundamental human rights obligations must be upheld in Turkey as the first step towards the ultimate goal that we all want to see - a peaceful, political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.

“I have contacted the Welsh Government to raise the matter and will be pursuing it with urgency over the next few days.

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