Imprisoned Kurdish Children on Hunger Strike in Turkey
17 Kurdish children have started a hunger-strike against the Turkish government’s frequent usage of anti-terror laws on minors in Mersin Jail. The Turkish State has failed to protect children, who are vulnerable and impressionable. In the past three years, at least 340 Kurdish children have been given long sentences under Turkey’s terror-laws for protesting. The Diyarbakir Human Rights Association has stated that 737 children have been charged under Turkey’s terror-laws since 2006.
Berivan Sayaca was arrested in 2010, and sentenced to 8 years in prison for protesting, her sentence was later revoked after she served 9 months in prison. The 15-year-old attended a local demonstration, and was arrested by Turkish security forces. 14-year-old Hatip Kurt was assaulted by Turkish police for attending a demonstration, and dragged to the police station in front of his mother.
There are many similar cases of assault and arrests of Kurdish children in Kurdish-populated areas. The Turkish government has failed to pass legislation which effectively protects children, but instead it has allowed minors to be prosecuted under anti-terror legislation which puts the well-being of children at risk.
Further reading: Amnesty International, Turkey urged to stop unfair prosecution of children under anti-terror laws.