Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 16:29:58 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <>
From: Arm The Spirit <>
Subject: German Leftist Sentenced For Acting In Solidarity With Kurds
To: Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L <>

Autonomist Jailed For Kurdish Hungerstrike Solidarity

Translated and condensed by Arm The Spirit from an article in Interim, #354, [23 January 1996]

On November 7, 1995, a court in Berlin sentenced 25-year-old Martin Mersch to 2 1/2 years in prison without parole on charges of riot and unlawful assembly.

Martin had taken part in a hungerstrike by Kurds in Berlin which started on July 20, 1995. The hungerstrike had been taking place on a city square in a fashionable shopping district, until riot police brutally dispersed the hungerstrikers.

During a march to the Kurdish Cultural Center in Kreuzberg where the strike was to continue, a Kurdish woman named Gulnaz Baghistani died. On August 11, riot police raided the center in order to forcibly end the hungerstrike. As they attempted to smash in the metal doors, Kurds responded with a barrage of stones and molotovs.

According to police, Martin participated in the violence and also displayed a flag of the banned National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK).

[Sadly, very few German leftists and even fewer autonomists gave any concrete solidarity to the Kurdish hungerstrike last summer. In jails across Turkey and Kurdistan, 10,000 political prisoners and prisoners of war went on hungerstrike on July 14 and solidarity hungerstrikes started across Europe on July 20. In many cities—London, Frankfurt, Paris, Berlin—police attacks on the hungerstrikes provoked violent clashes.—ATS]

Martin received very little support at his trial, where he delivered a political statement to the judge calling for the release of all Kurdish political prisoners and an end to the banning of the PKK.

Solidarity With The Kurdish Liberation Struggle!!

Write to Martin:

Martin Mersch
JVA, Gartenstrasse 26
48143 Munster