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Prisoners end hunger strike for Kurdish leader in Turkey

May 26, 2019
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Nevroz Uysal, one of the lawyers of imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, listens during a joint news conference wth other members of his legal team, in Istanbul, Sunday, May 26, 2019.In a letter released by his lawyers, Ocalan, who was allowed regular visits by his lawyers to his island prison only earlier this month, called for an end to hunger strikes and death fasts in protest to improve his prison conditions. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

ISTANBUL (AP) — A Kurdish politician has announced the end of a hunger strike by prisoners demanding improved conditions for Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of an outlawed Kurdish rebel group.

In a statement Sunday on the 200th day of the hunger strike, Leyla Guven said they had reached their goal. The Turkish government has lifted a ban on lawyer visits to a prison island where Ocalan is serving a life term. 

Close to 3,000 people have joined the hunger strike in some 90 prisons. Ocalan, in a letter shared Sunday by his lawyers following a second visit this month, thanked the strikers for their support and said he expects them to end the protest.

Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, was arrested in 1999.

Hunger strikers in Turkey traditionally refuse food but take vitamins and salt and sugar solutions, which prolong life.

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