Kurdish journalist Ozgur Amed was sentenced on February 21 to three years in prison for political activism for the rights of the Kurdish people, Firat News Agency reported on February 25. The 7th Criminal High Court of Diyarbakir sentenced him under Turkish Penal Code Article 220/6 for “committing an illegal organisation crime while not being an illegal organisation member”.
Ozgur Amed is a journalist, columnist, teacher, and activist from Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey. He spoke to Dylan Murphy, in conjunction with Rojava Report, about the democratic revolution underway in predominantly Kurdish Rojava in the Syrian state ― opposing both the Assad regime and fanatical Islamic State (IS). Despite sustained attacks by IS on Kobane in Rojava, resistance fighters liberated most of the city ― and Rojava's fascinating and inspiring experiments in direct democracy live on.
“We of course recognise that this is it — make or break time for us to make the long overdue change occur now and are thus in it for the long haul,” said Todd Ashker, a representative of hunger strikers in the Californian prison system, who has been on hunger strike for 44 days. “The sacrifice is minor compared to what we've endured for 30 years.”
For more than a month, more than 400 prisoners in seven Californian prisons have refused to eat in protest at the use of long-term solitary confinement and other abuses. This is the longest hunger strike in California’s history and is provoking a predictably savage response from prison authorities. Prisoners are being denied medical attention, those accused of being representatives of the strikers are put in administrative segregation to further isolate them and many are being denied their mail.
“We are certain that we will prevail,” said a statement by the more than 30,000 Californian prisoners on a hunger strike, “the only questions being: How many will die starvation-related deaths before state officials sign the agreement? The world is watching!”
In 2005, Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza. The next year, democratic elections were won by Hamas. Since voting the “wrong way”, the Palestinian people in Gaza have been subjected to a siege by Israel. Gaza is blockaded by land, sea and air by the Israeli Defence Force. The International Red Cross and the United Nations have found the Israeli government's siege of Gaza to be illegal under international law.
Whistleblower Bradley Manning was back in court in late February for pre-trial hearings. He has now spent more than 1000 days in prison without a trial. Military judge Denise Lind made several rulings during the week long proceedings. Firstly, she ruled that Manning had not been deprived of his due process right to a speedy trial. US military law requires that any defendant must be arraigned within 120 days.