Guards attack prisoners on hunger strike for speaking Kurdish

Guards attacked the Kurdish-speaking prisoners in Ereğli High Security Prison where there has been a hunger strike.

The indefinite-alternating hunger strike launched by 40 prisoners on October 4 to protest the increasing rights violations and severe isolation conditions in Konya Ereğli High Security Prison continues. One of the hunger strikers, Yakup Brukanli from Rojhilat (Iranian Kurdistan), set his body on fire on October 28 to protest the severe isolation conditions.

Families of the hunger strikers gave the following information:

“Every day they bring a new prisoner from another prison and put them into cells. The prison was built in the form of single cells, and they call it a 'single ward'. Prison officials told them ‘You will stay in a single cell, there is no other way’. Usually those cells are almost empty, prisoners buy everything with their own money. The prisoners said that the conditions were not good. Even their basic needs are not provided and there are prisoners who cannot afford them. The prisoners continue their indefinite alternating hunger strike, and the sick detainees state that they will also join the ongoing hunger strike.

When Yakup Brukanli, who set his body on fire to protest the isolation conditions, was taken to the infirmary. Prisoners who asked about his condition were subjected to violence. One of the guards told the prisoners: ‘We have put you in a single cell so that you don't talk to each other’. Especially when the prisoners speak Kurdish, they face an even more violent attack. The Kurdish language is banned. Their aim is to completely cut off communication between the prisoners, and to break their will.”

Families of the prisoners said that Brukanli remains in critical condition. “It is reported that Yakup cannot use his hands and arms. Accordingly, he has burns all over his body and his condition is very serious. He cannot even meet his basic needs. Yakup must be taken to a hospital. His condition could grow worse. There is a risk of infection in prison,” families said.