Welsh hunger striker calls off Kurdish protest

Imam Sis in Kurdish community centre in Newport
Image caption Imam Sis will be assessed in hospital after ending his hunger strike

An activist in Wales has ended his hunger strike in support of a rebel Kurdish leader imprisoned by Turkey.

Imam Sis, 32, of Newport, had gone without food for 161 days in protest over the treatment of Abdullah Ocalan.

Mr Ocalan is the founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organisation by the UK government.

On Sunday Mr Ocalan called on thousands of activists around the world to end their hunger strikes.

It followed his first visit in eight years from lawyers.

Mr Sis - who has lost 25kg (55lb) during his hunger strike - will now be assessed in hospital.

The protester's actions and the situation in Turkey were raised by the Welsh Assembly in March.

Assembly members supported a motion criticising the rebel leader's treatment, in a Plaid Cymru-led motion.

Mr Sis began his hunger strike in December, following action by Leyla Güven, an elected member of the Turkish Parliament, and others.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Demonstrations have been held in support of Mr Sis's hunger strike

Ms Güven argued that by isolating Mr Ocalan and by refusing to allow visits from his family or lawyers, the government has placed major impediments towards maintaining peace in Turkey.

"We feel it's been such a long journey for all of us," said Mark Campbell, who chairs the Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign.

"Imam Sis hasn't been moving from his bed, he's so weak but then he asked for his first cup of tea when he heard the news was coming through, the few people that were with him were ecstatic."

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