[Sinn Fein]

27 April 2001

Gerry Adams urges Irish government use Security Council influence to end Turkish prison protest

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has written to the Irish government calling on it to use its influence as a member of the UN Security Council and as a member state of the EU to put pressure on the Turkish government to enter negotiations to end the hunger strikes in Turkish prisons.   The prison protest has already resulted in the deaths of 19 people - prisoners and their relatives.

Mr. Adams said:

``Recent reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch confirm that the regime of solitary isolation being introduced in the new F-type prisons, is in direct breach of commitments made by the Turkish Justice Ministry.  Their investigations suggest that in addition to this isolation that prisoners transferred under this new regime have already been subject to torture and ill-treatment.

``It is imperative that action is taken now to ensure that no more lives are lost in this hunger strike.

``I am calling on the Irish government, through its membership of the UN Security Council and as a member state of the European Union to raise this matter both with the Turkish government and internationally to achieve a positive resolution.

``In this the 20th Anniversary of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike I am very conscious of the pain and suffering endured by hunger strikers and their families and I would urge the Turkish government to act in a humane manner and bring the situation to a just end.

``We are also supporting calls for a public inquiry into events surrounding the December transfers and into reports of persistent torture and other abuses in Turkish jails.''

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