The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers reviewed in its recent meetings the cases of Abdullah Öcalan and a group of political prisoners in Turkey known as the ‘Gurban Group’, in which Turkey has not yet implemented rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The ECHR had said in March 2014 that Turkey had violated the rights of Öcalan and other political prisoners both due to the inhumane conditions of severe solitary confinement, and also due to the aggravated life imprisonment in Turkey being a sentence disregarding any possibility of conditional release.
As the Committee of Ministers announced the conclusion of their review on Friday, they recalled that the violation found by the ECHR required the adoption of measures by Turkey ‘that would allow the review of any aggravated life imprisonment sentence after a certain minimum term with a possibility of the release of the life prisoner.’
The committee expressed concern that the Turkish authorities ‘have not provided pertinent information on the measures envisaged to remedy the violations found in these judgments’ and ‘urged them to adopt without further delay the measures required to bring the current legislative framework into compliance with the standards set out by the court.’
While information on the number of persons presently detained and sentenced to serve an irreducible life sentence without possibility for review was requested from Turkey, the committee invited the authorities to submit information on the progress achieved in the adoption of the general measures by the end of September 2022 at the latest.
The Committee has also indicated that concerning the present conditions of detention, that they were closely monitored by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and that no further measures were required regarding these conditions.