For Immediate Release (# 53)
Contact: Kani Xulam: 202.483.6444
March 21, 2001

Expresses Support for the Release of Kurdish Parliamentarians

An American woman, Deborah Dilley, flew from Salt Lake City, Utah to take part at a Vigil across from the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC. Since March 5, 2001, a group of Kurds and their friends have been keeping a silent vigil at the site to ask for the release of Kurdish parliamentarians who were imprisoned in 1994.

“I am here to express my support for the release of Kurdish parliamentarians. I did a paper on Leyla Zana and was impressed with her commitment to stand by her beliefs and her people at any cost,” said Ms. Dilley.

The Kurds and their supporters have built a replica of a Turkish prison cell at the site of the vigil to dramatize the deplorable conditions of the Kurdish parliamentarians. They are demanding the release of the Kurdish representatives and asking the friends of liberty to help them with the passage of Representative Bob Filner’s Kurdish resolution in the United States Congress.

Ms. Dilley will enter the cell on Thursday, at 10:00 am for a period of 48 hours.

“I love Turkey, but I hate its oppression of the Kurds and their culture. I think that Turkey’s neglect to answer the Kurdish question is driving the country further apart than if it accepted it,” said Ms. Dilley.

The Cell of Atonement is sponsored by a Washington based organization, the American Kurdish Information Network, (AKIN).

“I am grateful to Ms. Dilley for her act of solidarity with the representatives of the Kurdish people. She embodies the expressed ideals of this country not just in words but through actions,” said Kani Xulam one of the organizers of the Vigil.