REPORT ON VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, INCIDENTS, and CURRENT SITUATION IN IMRALI PRISON IN 2019

 

 

I. INTRODUCTION

2019 is the year that the İmralı Isolation System’s reflections on law legal and political arena have become more visible in Turkey. As known, the law and political arena in Turkey, which were already antidemocratic and cause continuous dynamism of coup, have been under the rule of the Emergency Decree Laws (KHK) and the State of Emergency declared on 20 July 2016 and have been institutionalised and become permanent following incidents on 15 July 2016 and 20 July 2016 respectively coup attempt and the State of Emergency.

The most clear reflection of this period is that the Imrali Isolation System, which is implemented as a prototype, has been institutionalised and spread across the country. In fact, the Imrali isolation practices, which were developed outside the boundaries of law until 2016, have become normative practices for the whole country by adopting these practices in question as a law. It is equal to the period that the penal code, laws on criminal procedures and execution dated 2005, which were discussed also as “Öcalan Laws” and drew the borders of criminal sanctions of politics, were spread across the country.

Apart from the reflections on law, the isolation in the İmralı Prison’s relationship with various dialectics have become clearer in the politics in 2019. Mr Öcalan has made analyses, shared his ideas of solutions and methods from his perspective within the framework of the “İmralı Stance” in visits even under the conflict and tense atmosphere. There were responses, negative or positive, from different groups and figures to Mr Öcalan’s position. The responses in question demonstrated the relationship between the Isolation System of Imralı and war-peace, coup mechanics-democratization and chaos- solution dialectics in a more visible way. In this respect, Mr Öcalan stated that the isolation—both the general isolation and the period that continues for 4 years—on him is related to present wars and he has been resisting—in line with the principles of peace—to the isolation in spite of the difficulties.

As it is known, no news was received from Mr. Öcalan in 2017 and 2018. The date of last contact with Mr. Öcalan was on 11 September 2016 when concerns about the right to life increased and protests intensified. Similarly, there was an absolute isolation including ban on visits from lawyers and relatives; the communication right namely sending and/or receiving letters, telegraph, telephone in 2019. However, 2019 became also the year that people showed democratic sensitivity and raised their concerns about the problem.

Ms Leyla Güven, the MP from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), made the following statement in the courtroom on 7 November 2018:

“Today, the isolation is not imposed on Mr Öcalan only but on the

whole people. Isolation is a crime against humanity. For being a member of the people, I begin a hunger strike action, which is permanent and non-alternating, to protest the

isolation on Mr Öcalan.” She made the statement while she was in pre-trial detention for

Continue reading “REPORT ON VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, INCIDENTS, and CURRENT SITUATION IN IMRALI PRISON IN 2019”

REPORT ON ABUSES OF RIGHTS, LATEST DEVELOPMENTS AND CURRENT STATE OF IMRALI PRISON 2018

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

2018 has been a year when anti-democratic form of government was institutionalized and deepened in Turkey. The emergency rule, declared on 15-20 July 2016, has been unlawfully rendered permanent by the decree laws which were supposed to be temporary. As it is frequently encountered in the history of 20-year İmralı Isolation System, the most important reflection of this situation was experienced in İmralı Prison. The arbitrary and unlawful isolation until July 15, 2016, continued by the Decree Laws based on the emergency rule. Then, especially in the year 2018, the Decree Laws were transformed into law and isolation continued in disguise of the law. However, it should be noted that the continuation of these practices under the law will not give them legal qualifications and cannot prevent them from being condemned according to universal human rights measures. Continue reading “REPORT ON ABUSES OF RIGHTS, LATEST DEVELOPMENTS AND CURRENT STATE OF IMRALI PRISON 2018”

International Initiative expresses concern over Ocalan’s wellbeing

PRESS STATEMENT

8 January 2016

Concerns about Abdullah Öcalan’s life: What is happening in Imrali Island Prison?

While Öcalan’s and Imrali Island’s total isolation continues since April 2015, now two inmates have been removed from the island and isolated elsewhere. This gives rise to the question: What is happening in Imrali? Is Öcalan’s life in danger?

The Imrali island prison is the Guantanamo of Europe. Over the 17 years of Öcalan’s imprisonment it has had an arbitrary and continuous aggravated isolation regime in place[1]. Bringing in a few other prisoners in 2009 has not removed this regime–on the contrary: the number of persons subjected to an aggravated isolation regime has increased. This regime has only relaxed slightly while a political process was in place; when there is no process the isolation regime turns into total isolation with no news from prisoners, no lawyer-client consultations, family visits, letters or telephone calls for any prisoner in Imrali (Öcalan is denied the right to phone anyway). Continue reading “International Initiative expresses concern over Ocalan’s wellbeing”

Statements call for Ocalan’s release on the anniversary of his expulsion from Syria

CENI WOMEN’S OFFICE FOR PEACE

The Syrian war started with the expulsion of Abdullah Öcalan

His freedom is our freedom

 

On 9 October 1998 Abdullah Öcalan was expelled from Syria, due to pressure from the Turkish government. As a result of an international plot he was later kidnapped and since 1999 has been in a Turkish prison, held under the most severe conditions of solitary confinement. Nevertheless in 2007 the Turkish state started negotiations with him as the representative of the Kurdish freedom movement. However, since 5 April this year he has been cut out of the negotiating delegation and has been kept completely isolated. This treatment of a significant political prisoner holds an entire society hostage and has a detrimental influence on peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Peace negotiations with the participation of Abdullah Öcalan, as well as his freedom, are directly linked to the freedom of the people in the Middle East. Continue reading “Statements call for Ocalan’s release on the anniversary of his expulsion from Syria”

University of Strathclyde Students’ Association grants Honorary Life Membership to Jailed Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan

20th of June at the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association in Vertigo at 5pm.

 

The University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) has recognised Abdullah Ocalan, the founder and leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for his fight for freedom, justice and self-determination of the Kurdish people, for which he has been imprisoned by the Turkish state since 1999.

Ocalan has redefined the historic struggle of the Kurds as one of achieving democratic autonomy and called for dialogue between the PKK and Turkey with the aim of replacing armed conflict with democracy and reconciliation, continuing his life long fight for freedom, equality between peoples and recognition for the Kurds. [1] Continue reading “University of Strathclyde Students’ Association grants Honorary Life Membership to Jailed Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan”

Now Is the time: Abdullah Ocalan Freedom March

On Friday 13th  and Saturday 14th February thousands of people gathered in Strasbourg to call for freedom for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is entering his 17th year in prison on the island of Imrali. The events came after many days of walking as many hundreds of people trekked across Europe to Strasbourg in  a show of solidarity with the PKK leader.  The incredible results of the Free Ocalan Campaign, in which over 10 million people signed a petition calling for Ocalan’s release, were also handed in to officials at the Council of Europe.

Thank you to filmmakers System D for the video!

Continue reading “Now Is the time: Abdullah Ocalan Freedom March”

10.3 Million Signatures for Peace and Freedom for Öcalan

Free ocalan muralToday, thousands of people have gathered in Strasbourg for the culmination of a huge international campaign calling for the release of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK, on the 16th anniversary of his abduction. An incredible 10.3 million people from across the world signed a petition demanding freedom for Ocalan. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has proudly supported the campaign from the beginning and sent a solidarity statement to the organisers of today’s press conference, as did Margaret Owen on behalf of all our patrons, who were among the first signatories to the campaign. 

The International Initiative, which organised the campaign, today released this statement:

Statement of the International Initiative, 13 February 2015

In March 1999, when the International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan—Peace in Kurdistan” was founded, it was unthinkable. Unthinkable, that Abdullah Öcalan would ever – get out alive. After his forceful abduction from Kenya with the help of Western intelligence services, a seemingly big victory of the Turkish state, the question seemed to be whether Abdullah Öcalan was executed without a trial or after a trial. To even think of “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan” amounted to lunacy. Nevertheless, an impressive number of intellectuals, artists, politicians and activists read the signs of the times differently. Even back then, 16 years ago, they knew that for a sustainable solution of the so-called Kurdish question Öcalan had to be free and a peaceful solution had to be negotiated. This group founded the International Initiative. Continue reading “10.3 Million Signatures for Peace and Freedom for Öcalan”

Solidarity message to press conference on 13 February 2015

 

I Margaret Owen, on behalf of the UK based PATRONS OF PEACE IN KURDISTAN, who are among the “first” signatories of the petition to secure the release Abdullah Ocalan from his 16 year incarceration on the Isle of Imrali by Turkey, greet you.

We send our most fervent wishes to the organisers of the March to Strasbourg and to all those gathering in Strasbourg on February 13th to demand that Ocalan is freed. The long imprisonment of the Kurdish leader is one of the greatest injustices in history, not just for the Kurdish people, but for all peoples of the world who salute Ocalan for his breadth of vision in defending the universal values of democracy, pluralism, gender equality, and freedom.

London, 7 February 2015

Margaret Owen on behalf of Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall

 

Council for the Prevention of Torture reports on visit to Imrali island

imraliFollowing the publication of the EP’s resolution on the 2013 Turkey Progress Report, another European institution has put Turkey under the spotlight this week, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). The CPT visited the island of Imrali in January 2013 and laid out their finding in a report, which is available to download here.

The CPT found that Abdullah Ocalan is being denied the same amount of open air time as the five other prisoners, and that he is not still allowed to have contact with them during his outdoor exercise despite earlier recommendations that this should be allowed. They add, “Out of a total of 168 hours per week, prisoners could stay outside their cells for up to 36 hours (22 for Abdullah Ocalan), but they were able to be in contact with other inmates for only 8 hours per week; in other words, they were being held in solitary confinement for 160 hours a week.”

The CPT goes on to say: “More generally, the CPT must stress once again that the regime applied to prisoners serving a sentence of aggravated life imprisonment suffers from a fundamental flaw and and should be revised not only at Imrali prison but in the prison system as a whole….as a matter of principle, the imposition of such a regime [of isolation] should not be the automatic consequence of the type of sentence imposed. The Committee wishes to stress that life-sentenced prisoners (as indeed all prisoners) are sent to prison as punishment and not to be punished within the prison.”

The report reveals the torturous levels of solitary confinement suffered by the prisoners, especially Ocalan. At one point in 2011, Ocalan was held in continuous cellular confinement for a total of 240 days as part of a disciplinary punishment, far exceeding the CPT’s owen recommendations to impose this kind of solitary on an inmate for just 14 days at a time. “Such a state of affairs is totally unacceptable”, the report concludes.

Continue reading “Council for the Prevention of Torture reports on visit to Imrali island”