Freedom for all political prisoners – solidarity keeps us alive!
The destruction of nature, environment and social life caused by capitalist modernity has resulted in the coronavirus pandemic posing a major threat to the health and lives of people. Previously, epidemics such as cholera, AIDS, avian flu, swine flu, SARS I/II had spread on a massive scale and affected people’s lives. More recently, the spread of Covid-19 in this form is the result of continuous attacks on nature and society in the name of capitalist modernity for maximum profit.
For many states, the current coronavirus is also an opportunity to take action against political prisoners. Oppositional and political prisoners in particular are excluded from the deferment and amnesty provisions which have been adopted to prevent the virus from spreading in prisons. They are practically left to die. In many countries around the world, hundreds of thousands of political prisoners are held in poor living conditions and with inadequate medical care, with women and children being particularly vulnerable and exposed to the epidemic without protection. The precautions taken in various countries in response to the coronavirus have led to the release of a few prisoners. There is obviously a deliberate policy towards political prisoners who are seen as enemies of anti-democratic regimes. They are abandoned when dealing with the virus under prison conditions.
Prisons are spaces isolated from the public. With their high walls and barbed-wire fences, the aim is to break the voice of political prisoners and isolate them from society. Political prisoners are people who are imprisoned for political or ideological reasons and for criticism of the respective states. For this reason, although it is always important to be their voice and bring the “inside” to the “outside”, it is becoming increasingly important and urgent while their health and lives are seriously threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.
To draw attention to this situation, the campaign “Solidarity Keeps Us Alive” has been formed. The campaign is supported both by groups who have been dealing with the prison situation in their countries for a long time and by initiatives and individuals who are generally committed to human rights and democracy.
The situation is most dramatically illustrated by the growing number of political prisoners who are in prison in Turkey for expressing opinions and engaging in democratic activities. Currently, there are about 8000 prisoners (400 of them women) – and the number is increasing. The Kurdish democracy movement, which has been trying for some years to transform society in a democratic and ecological way, is particularly affected. Also in countries like Iran, Spain and Colombia, political prisoners are still held despite the Corona pandemic. A current example is the Kurdish activist Zeynab Jalalian in Iran, who has been imprisoned for 13 years. The Kurdish prisoner, sentenced to life imprisonment in Iran, has fallen ill with Covid-19 and the authorities are refusing her medical treatment in a hospital. The Iranian regime has for years been making a public confession of remorse a precondition for specialist treatment, which Jalalian refuses to accept. The case of Zeynab Jalalian is just one example of the acute situation of political prisoners.
We therefore call for a decentralised international day of action on 27 June to give political prisoners a voice worldwide and to break the isolation in prisons! Participate with creative actions in your cities in the day of action! Solidarity keeps us alive!
Campaign “Solidarity Keeps us Alive” / “Solidarity keeps us alive