We publish a summary of the letter of vegan prisoner Osman Evcan who began a hunger strike on 3 November to protest Kırıkkale F-Type High Security Prison’s negligence about his demands. “Basic rights of a prisoner must not be violated regardless of the crimes he/she committed in the past”, said Evcan in the letter he wrote on 16 November. Evcan wrote the followings;
“To explain who I am, why I am in prison and how I adopted a vegan living culture, I am writing this letter to those who have supported my demand about my nutrition in prison.
Arrested in 1992 on charges of “membership to an illegal organization”, I was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with the Article 146/1 of Turkish Penal Code.
The reason for the life sentence was the murder of an organization member upon the central decision of the organization due to his disobedience to organizational discipline.
Although I personally don’t approve this act, I was involved in it in connection with the circumstances of that time. I evaluate this act as a murder.
It is a crime against humanity to claim lives of people and animals as well. Therefore I have always felt regret and sorry for the murder of that person and the crime committed against humanity.
Short after I was put in prison, I dissociated myself from the organization and continued my life as a free individual. I made effort to free myself from the habits, behavior patterns and thoughts led by the culture of violence and authoritarian living in my past. I tried to make use of the time well by reading books with different contents to settle with the questions in my mind.
Along the ideational development I went through, I adopted humanitarian and libertarian thoughts that objected to violence. I comprehended that statist organizations wouldn’t bring freedom, equality, welfare and happiness to people.
I adopted the anarchist idea which defended that the power and state are oppressive institutions that enslave, exploit, standardize, dominate people and force them to obedience as well as producing violence and exploitation.
In the following process, I tended to ecological anarchist ideas as I realized that the industrial and technological culture of capitalism spoiled and destroyed the balance of ecological life, harmed and destroyed our planet and made the society sick. I began to side with a life based on intimate terms with the nature and freed from the industrial and technological culture.
And the culture of a vegan living was built into my thoughts within the last eight years. The tendency to vegan living arose from the impression left on me by the exploitation of animals, the cruelty, violence and destruction of rights to live they suffered from.
The violence, exploitation and destruction actions targeting people have the same goal with those that target animals. The human and animal species will not become free when we make away with one of these species. The more we manage to end the violence, exploitation and murder of both species, the more free and equal life our people, animals and universe will achieve.
The problems and violations of human rights that I suffer today in prison don’t have a political content. All are within the scope of basic human rights. Basic rights of a prisoner mustn’t be violated regardless of the crimes he/she committed in the past. Prisoners mustn’t be exposed to cruelty and pressure. These practices are crimes against humanity and only arbitrary attitudes.”
WHO IS OSMAN EVCAN
Evcan is a political prisoner in Turkey kept in high security solitary confinement prison. Due to his political and ethical convictions, Evcan became a vegan (strict vegetarian who avoids all animal products) eight years ago. Since the Turkish authorities do not respect his right to pursue a vegan diet, Evcan has been suffering from variety of health issues as he is not getting enough vegan food to eat and he is unable to pursue a balanced diet. In a letter he wrote from prison, Evcan mentions prison authorities giving him food in an unhygienic state and there have been instances where harmful additives and chemicals have been intentionally added to his food. In his last letter on the 6th of November 2011, Evcan added that on an arbitrary basis, prison officers have not being providing him with escorts, so that he misses medical appointments. Having already boycotted the prison food and managing by purchasing his own food at prison cafeteria, he says in his last letter that he needs to strengthen his attitude to be heard. Therefore he started an on-going hunger strike on 4 November 2011 for an indefinite time until his demands are met.