Middle East

Lawyer: Kurdish rebel chief wants hunger strikes to end

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A lawyer says imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has called on hundreds of hunger-striking prisoners “not to endanger their lives.”

Lawyer Newroz Uysal said Monday that her colleagues visited Ocalan on a prison island off Istanbul on May 2. It was the first time lawyers were able to see him since 2011.

Close to 3,000 people have joined a hunger strike in around 90 prisons demanding improved jail conditions for Ocalan, including permission for family members and lawyers to visit.

Uysal quoted Ocalan as saying that while he respected those taking part in the strike, they should “not take it to the point that will result in death.”

It wasn’t clear if lawyers would be allowed regular visits to the island where Ocalan is serving a life term.

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