Kurdish MP on hunger strike in Turkey leaves hospital

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A pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike in Turkey for more than three months, was brought to a hospital Wednesday but went home by ambulance after refusing treatment, a hospital source said.

Leyla Guven started a hunger strike on November 8 while in jail, to protest against the prison conditions of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan.

She was freed last month by a court in the Kurdish-majority Diyarbakir city but vowed to continue her fast until the government allows Ocalan to hold regular meetings with his lawyers and family members.

The 55-year-old member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was taken to hospital Wednesday after her blood pressure went up and she complained of chest pain, the hospital source told AFP.

Her heartbeat was monitored at the hospital’s intensive care unit. “She is conscious and refuses to take any treatment,” the source said.

Later in the day, Guven left the hospital after signing a document stating that she refuses any treatment, according to the source.

AFP footage showed her being carried to an ambulance waiting outside the hospital, wearing a surgical mouth mask and with a scarf covering her face.

Guven was imprisoned last year for criticizing Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia in northern Syria which Ankara brands as “terrorists” linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), co-founded by Ocalan.

Ocalan has not had access to his lawyers since 2011.

Guven’s action is supported by over 300 prisoners across Turkey, according to the HDP.

She is consuming nothing but sugared or salted water.

Ocalan, arrested 20 years ago, is serving a life sentence on Imrali Island, close to Istanbul.

His PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union, and the United States.

The authorities allowed the PKK leader to meet his brother Mehmet last month, the first visit in over two years.

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