British actress Maxine Peake launches ‘letters for Leyla’ campaign

British actress Maxine Peake described Leyla Guven’s fight as one for the whole of humanity as she launched the Peace in Kurdistan “Letters for Leyla” campaign.

British actress Maxine Peake, known for shows including Silks, Black Mirror and Shameless, called for messages of solidarity to be sent to the former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Hakkari who was jailed for 22 years and three months in December.

“I am joining the campaign which is starting with cards and letter writing, to send a message of hope and solidarity to Leyla so she knows she is not alone. I hope you too will join me,” Ms Peake said.

The actress is a long-standing supporter of the Kurdish struggle and met Ms Guven as part of an international delegation in February 2019 during her hunger strike in protest at the isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan

She described meeting the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair at her home in Diyarbakir as a great honour.

“I was struck by her wealth of compassion, humanity and strength even as she lay extremely weak and vulnerable from the effects of her protest.” the Peace in Kurdistan patron said.

The popular British stage and screen actor stressed the importance of showing solidarity with Ms Guven, whose jailing is seen as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political genocide against Kurds.

“Leyla has been described as the embodiment of the Kurdish women’s resistance and this is very much why she has been targeted,” Ms Peake said

“Leyla’s fight is the fight of Kurdish Women but also it is a battle that concerns the whole of humanity. She has sacrificed her liberty for the freedom of the Kurdish people. We must all unite to demand her immediate release.”

It is the first action of the British-based Peace in Kurdistan campaign group’s efforts in pressing for the immediate release of Ms Guven who was jailed on trumped-up terrorism charges which included her activities for the DTK.

PIK has already written to the British government demanding it secures the release of Ms Guven who stressed the importance of international solidarity in a New Year’s message to supporters.

“During 200 days of my hunger strike you have never withheld your support,” Ms Guven said, adding: “I truly believe in the power of international solidarity.”

In a letter from her Elazig prison cell she remained optimistic and said: “I have no doubt that we are approaching freedom step by step together.”

PIK believes that Leyla Guven is the will of the people and calls for her immediate release and for the freedom of all political prisoners held in Erdogan’s dungeons.

Ms Peake urges everyone to join her in the letter-writing campaign to send a “message of hope and solidarity to Leyla so she knows she is not alone.”

PIK is calling for people to send letters and cards with messages of support and solidarity to Leyla on 25 January. In the meantime messages can be translated from English by sending them to

Once the translated message has been received supporters are asked to take photographs or videos of themselves writing their messages and post to social media using the hashtag #LettersForLeyla.

Letters can be posted to Leyla Guven, E Tipi Cezaevi, Atasehir Mahalessi, ELAZIG, Turkey.