Jailed Turkish politician barred from activities for launching hunger strike

Turkish prison officials punished a jailed former member of parliament for starting a hunger strike to protest his pre-trial detention, a lawmaker of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said on Sunday.

Eren Erdem, a journalist-turned-CHP MP, began his hunger strike on Jan. 29 after a Turkish court rejected his lawyer’s appeal for his release. The 32-year-old former lawmaker, pending trial, is charged with links to the Gülen movement, which Ankara designates a terrorist organisation and accuses of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

As punishment for being on hunger strike, Erdem has been barred from attending sports activities in prison for one month, Barış Yarkadaş, a CHP lawmaker said on Twitter.

According to an indictment prepared by a Turkish prosecutor, Erdem faces 8.5 to 19 years behind bars for “aiding a terrorist organisation,” “revealing the identity of a secret witness,” and “violating the confidentiality of a criminal investigation," over publishing illegal wiretappings when he was the editor of an opposition newspaper.