30 December 2022 | ANF
International law organizations applied to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which deepened their concerns about Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held under severe isolation conditions in Imrali prison since 1999, following its visit to Imrali Island on September 20-29.
The Center for Study and Research on Democracy/International Group for Legal Intervention (CRED/GILI), European Association of Democracy and World Human Rights Lawyers (ELDH), European Democratic Lawyers (AED), Giuristi Democratici (GD) from Italy, Republikanischer Anwältinnen from Germany – und Anwälteverein e.V. (RAV), Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V. (VDJ) and Verein Für Demokratie und Internationales Recht (Maf-Dad), Belgium’s Syndicat des Avocats pour la Démocratie (SAD) and the Netherlands’ Vereniging Sociale Advocatuur Nederland said that Turkey should comply with the recommendations of the CPT and called for an end to the illegal isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners in Imrali.
Visits have been blocked for 20 years
Visits between Abdullah Öcalan and his family and lawyers have faced constant obstacles for 20 years. The international institutions underlined that the Kurdish people’s leader has not been allowed to meet with his lawyers since 2019 and with his family since March 2020.
Situation has not improved since 2016
Referring to the CPT’s report on its 2019 visit published in 2020, the application said: “Since the CPT’s 2016 visit, the situation regarding the conditions of the detainees has not improved at all. In the opinion of the CPT, ‘such a situation is unacceptable.’ This applies not only to Abdullah Öcalan’s contact with the 3 detainees in Imrali, but also to the prevention of visits by his family members and lawyers. Therefore, the CPT should develop a sustainable and regular visit system with families and lawyers for all detainees held in prisons, and especially in Imrali prison.”
Call on CPT to publish its report
In the application, which invited Turkey to immediately take into account the criticisms of the CPT, the following statements were made: “We call on the CPT to implement its recommendations, particularly with regard to visits by lawyers and family members, and to respect Turkish, European and international legal provisions in this context. We also call on the Turkish government to immediately take a position on the CPT report on the September 2022 visit and pave the way for its publication. We call on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to discuss the Turkish government’s persistent refusal to follow the CPT’s recommendations and to take the necessary steps. In the face of the Turkish government’s repeated refusal to comply with the CPT’s recommendations, we urge the CPT to take advantage of Article 10 of the Convention and issue a statement outlining the main abuses and their impact on the health of prisoners in Imrali.”