Abdullah Zeytun, president of the Diyarbakır Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Turkey, spoke to Mesopotamia Agency (MA) about the nature of the prison isolation conditions that have been imposed on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the ongoing hunger strikes in prisons.
Zeytun stated that unlawful practices were actually applied to the whole of society and a joint struggle needed to be undertaken against isolation. The indefinite-alternating hunger strike launched in prisons demanding an end to the isolation imposed upon PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan has reached its 91st day.
Although protests and actions have been organized by political parties and non-governmental organisations with the support of several activists, the authorities have not taken a single step so far to address the demands of the hunger strikers. ”Öcalan and three other prisoners are subjected to arbitrary practices that are incompatible with the law”, Zeytun said and added: ”IHD has made many attempts to eliminate the existing unlawful actions. However, there has been no change in the practices in İmralı”, he said.
“Political decisions make law enforcement dysfunctional due to the highly politicized atmosphere”, he said. Regarding the visit of the Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) to a prison in Turkey, Zeytun said: “The CPT has not fully fulfilled its scrutiny remit”.
”The state is responsible”
Zeytun also noted that, in response to the demands of the hunger strikers, the “state is responsible for protecting the rights of the prisoners and eliminating the violations of their rights. It should be noted that human rights in Turkey are being threatened in critical fashion. We must fight together against it”, he said.
Zeytun noted that “unlawful practices applied to a person actually are applied to the whole of society. Therefore, society as a whole must struggle to establish justice”. Zeytun pointed to the Constitutional Court’s decision regarding the rights violations against Veysi Aktaş, who was detained in Imrali in 2019, and said: “The decisions of the Constitutional Court are still not being implemented. It is a situation against the rule of law”.