Derry Hunger Striker's son tends Turkey's death fasters

Danielle Ni Dhighe nidhighe at irsm.org
Fri Sep 21 17:56:15 MDT 2001


Derry Journal
21 September 2001

Derry Hunger Striker's son tends Turkey's death fasters
by Brendan McDaid

Inspired by his father's struggle, the son of Derry hunger striker
Mickey Devine has revealed that he is currently tending to "death
fasters" in Turkey after managing to enter the country earlier this
week.

Michael Og Devine, son of Mickey Devine, evaded detection by the
Turkish authorities during the dangerous undercover mission and was
able to slip into the homes of the hunger strikers, meeting with the
protesters.

Describing himself as a "horse back rider" for those on Hunger Strike
in Turkey, he has also been making appearances in local Turkish radio
stations and newspapers to hit out at the events in Turkey.

Speaking from Turkey yesterday he said he was there to serve as a
witness for the death fasters and to do whatever he could to win
reforms that would enable the hunger strike to end.

Explaining the situation, Michael Og, who has been joined by two
members of the IRSP National Executive said: "There is a state of
siege here. We had to sneak in and if caught by the state we will get
thrown out. Still, the death fasters are in good spirits despite the
recent death and the attacks by the state on the hunger strikers and
their supporters.

"So far 33 lives have been lost by political prisoners and their
comrades demonstrating against the forced implementation of the so-
called F-type prisons."

He added: "The Turkish government is clearly engaged in a war against
its own people. Given the history of the region the near genocidal
assault on the Armenians, the continued onslaught against the Kurds
and these present attacks on Anatolian political prisoners and
revolutionaries from a number of organisations within the Turkish
left, it is a small wonder that the death fasters find themselves
under a state of seige as well.

"But despite what set backs have been encountered the Death Fasters
remain committed to their protest, a symbol and a great revolutionary
principle. We horse back riders assist in giving the hunger strikers
mobility and by visiting them, we bring hope."

Earlier this month the deputy Mayor of Derry, Colr. Peter Anderson,
called on the people of the city booking holidays for next year to
seriously consider boycotting Turkey as part of a Europe wide
campaign to force the government there to change their policy towards
prisoners.

Relatives of Turkish hunger strikers who met with the Deputy Mayor
spoke of the horrific conditions under which their loved ones are
placed. One men told the 'Journal' how women prisoners had been
burned alive and others tortured, beaten and shot through their cell
roofs.

Drawing parallels between the 1981 H Block Hunger Strike - during
which Michael Og's father Mickey Devine and fellow Derry men Patsy
O'Hara died - he said: "Our political prisoners are just seen as
terrorists. What the Irish people suffered is similar to our plight.
In 1981 Bobby Sands and his colleagues launched their resistance and
in 1984 we did the same. Their hunger strikes in Ireland were a big
inspiration to the Turkish prisoners. We watched it very closely.
Political status had been removed and the prisoners decided they had
to launch an action to get their rights back. The authorities have
snatched away all their human rights.

"The European Union has said the prison conditions are compatible
with EU regulations but they are similar to Long Kesh at its worst.
The prisoners have no rights. In isolation they are tortured
especially if they are continuing the hunger strike. They wait in
cells and are taken out regularly and without warning beaten."

A spokesperson or the IRSP said that the party had committed
itself "to doing all in our power to assist our Turkish sisters and
brothers win their demands and once again. assert our deep solidarity
with the Death Fasters."

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