Kurdish activists and politicians have launched a demonstration in front of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg demanding action to end Turkey’s mistreatment of jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, Mezopotamya news agency reported.
The four-day sit-in protest, organised by the Belgium-based European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress, calls for an end to the communications ban imposed on Öcalan that has left him incommunicado for more than one-and-a-half years.
The 100-strong protest will hand over a dossier of evidence to the Council detailing Öcalan’s inhumane treatment in prison and demanding that Turkish authorities adhere to human rights principles by granting him physical freedom and ending his communications ban.
The group, including former deputies from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Hatip Dicle and Selma Irmak, former co-chairs of the Democratic Society Congress NGO, will also meet the French Left Party to discuss the matter, Mezopotamya said.
The Turkish authorities’ treatment of Öcalan had been brought to the European Court of Human Rights by his lawyers, who argued that his human rights had been violated during mostly solitary imprisonment on İmralı prison island under an “aggravated” life sentence which carried no chance of parole.
In 2014, the ECHR ruled that Turkey had violated the European Convention on Human Rights Article 3 on the prohibition of torture, but there has been no move from Ankara to act on the ruling.
Öcalan’s lawyers consequently applied to the Council of Europe demanding that steps were taken to ensure Turkey implements the necessary amendments in line with the ECHR ruling.
In August, the lawyers indicated they would also pursue other avenues, such as the United Nations’ human rights mechanisms, as progress continued to stall.