Isolation of Öcalan must end - Hazzard
Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has called for the immediate release of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Ocalan on the 20th anniversary of his detention.
Speaking at a Kurdish solidarity event at Westminster on Friday, the South Down MP said:
"As we gather in London to mark the 20th anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan’s abduction by Turkish forces in Nairobi in 1999, it's worth remembering that he has now been held in prison longer than Nelson Mandela spent on Robben Island.
"For some of that time, serving mostly in total isolation on Imrali island he has been denied visits from his family, his legal team and independent observers.
"His continued isolation must end and he should be released immediately, along with other Kurdish political prisoners in order to advance the peace process.
"International powers have sat back and allowed Erdogan to seize all levers of political control, imprison opponents and rule by decree.
"A state of emergency has been normalised enabling independent voices in politics, the media and academia to be savagely suppressed.
"Kurdish political prisoners have been on hunger strike in Turkish prisoners calling for an end to the isolation of Abdullah Ocalan.
"Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for democracy and stand with the Kurdish people in their struggle. The international community must now make its voice heard to demand the release of Abdullah Ocalan."