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Fourth Kurdish Prisoner Commits Suicide in Turkey: Party

A fourth Kurdish prisoner in Turkey committed suicide Monday to protest against the conditions of jailed militant Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, a pro-Kurdish party official and a lawmaker said.

The death of Medya Cinar follows the suicide of three others in prison, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) official who did not wish to be named told AFP.

HDP lawmaker Tuma Celik said Cinar had been charged with ties to outlawed Kurdish militants and killed herself in a prison in the southeast Mardin province.

The Mardin public prosecutor’s office and justice ministry officials did not immediately respond to requests for information.

Since a hunger strike launched by Kurdish lawmaker Leyla Guven in the southeastern Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir in November 2018, Cinar, Ugur Sakar, Zulkuf Gezen and Ayten Becet have taken their lives.

Guven has been on hunger strike for nearly 140 days.

Gezen hanged himself earlier this month but officials rejected claims he killed himself as part of a protest.

Ocalan co-founded the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and is proscribed as a terror group by Ankara, as well as the European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S.)

Ocalan was captured in 1999 and is serving a life sentence on Imrali island, close to Istanbul, after he was found guilty of treason.

He has not had access to his lawyers since 2011. Dozens went on hunger strike calling for access for Ocalan’s lawyers and family members.

HDP lawmaker Ayse Acar Basaran on Saturday said that Becet had committed suicide “to protest the inhuman, unlawful and illegitimate isolation imposed on Abdullah Ocalan at Imrali”.

Cinar was normally held in a prison in the eastern Van province, Celik said.

She was brought to Mardin for a hearing in her trial after being arrested following clashes with authorities in 2016 in Nusaybin, a southern town on the Syrian border.

Nusaybin was under curfew for weeks during a military operation to push Kurdish militants out of the town, where the authorities said they had dug trenches and put up barricades.

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