Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan spoke to his family in a phone call today, announced Asrın Law Bureau, the lawyers office that officially represents Abdullah Öcalan.
This is the first contact with Abdullah Öcalan since 27 April 2020, when the PKK leader was allowed to speak with his brother on a phone call following the Covid-19 pandemic leading to concerns both among his lawyers and his family about his health.
The last time Öcalan was allowed a visit from his lawyers was 7 August 2019 and all subsequent applications of the lawyers to meet with Öcalan in person were either been unanswered or rejected, until today Thursday, 25 March.
‘The phone call was cut off’
Announcing the initial news about the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan’s first phone call since 27 April 2020, Asrın Law Bureau, the firm representing the Kurdish leader, stated that “the phone call was cut off in an abrupt way after the conversation with Abdullah Öcalan had started.”
Here is the full statement of Asrın Law Bureau:
“The families of our clients Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, Mr. Ömer Hayri Konar, Mr. Hamili Yıldırım and Mr. Veysi Aktaş, who are imprisoned in Imralı Prison were invited to the prosecutor’s offices to use their right to a phone call. Mr. Öcalan’s conversation over the phone with his brother was cut off after a very short time and they were not able to communicate further. The phone call of Mr. Hamili Yıldırım was also very short whilst Mr. Ömer Hayri Konar and Mr. Veysi Aktaş refused the phone call in protest against the isolation conditions.
As known by the public, we have not been able to obtain any news from Mr Öcalan since 27 April 2020. Our last lawyer-client meeting was held on 7 August 2019. Since then we have been continuously applying to visit him in person, which is his legal right, in order to make sure that he is in a good health condition especially after the rumours circulated on social media on 14 March 2021 that caused serious concerns regarding the well being of Mr. Öcalan. However, we have not received any positive response to these applications.
Also today, it was also not possible for us to obtain any information regarding the health issue of Mr. Öcalan.
Our demand to meet with Mr. Öcalan in person in Imralı prison island remains our urgent priority. As a matter of fact, Mr. Öcalan himself declared on the phone call that he does not accept that this demand of ours is not being accepted, and that this is a situation against the law. It was at this point that the conversation was interrupted due to the phone conversation being abruptly cut off.
We bring this information regarding these developments to the public attention and we invite the authorities to abide by the law and we call on them to fulfil their lawful duty.”
Hunger strikes against isolation on 119th day
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan has been imprisoned on İmralı Island near Istanbul since he was arrested in 1999. No news has been heard from him since 27 April 2020.
After rumours circulated on social media regarding the well being of the imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, there have been numerous requests by his lawyers, family members and human rights organisations for urgent visits to Imrali Island prison from his legal team to confirm he is alive and well and to take legal instruction from their client. None of these requests have been responded to.
Meanwhile, a widespread hunger strike throughout more than 150 prisons in Turkey continues to its 119th day. The political prisoners who are leading the hunger strikes demand that the isolation on Abdullah Öcalan be lifted and that the systematic violations of human rights in prisons be ended. The rotational hunger strike began on 27 Nov 2020.