Wednesday marked the 50th day of hunger strike for Mazlum Dağ and Abdurrahman Er, two Kurdish prisoners held in a prison in Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil (Hewlêr).
The pair started their hunger strikes on 18 May in protest of multiple human rights violations in the prison.
Solidarity Initiative Against the Death Penalty warn that Dağ and Er’s health has deteriorated to life-threatening levels. The Switzerland-based group posed an urgent appeal last week for authorities to meet the prisoners’ demands and address their worsening conditions.
According to the relatives of Dağ and Er, the hunger strikers have been deprived of essential vitamin B1, which is typically administered to individuals on hunger strikes. The prisoners have reportedly experienced significant weight loss, difficulty in standing up, and have been unable to make contact with prison officials. Despite efforts by their lawyers to intervene, no progress has been made on their behalf.
Dağ and Er had gone on a hunger strike in February 2022 first, protesting the same rights violations. The first hunger strike ended after nine days, upon the prison administration providing assurances for improvements.
Their second hunger strike was in September, again in response to prison conditions. The protest ended after 14 days, when their demands were met.
Both men were arrested following an attack on the Turkish Consulate General in Erbil on 17 July 2019 and sentenced to death by a court of first instance.