On 6 October the French Union Syndicale Solidaires sent a letter to Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, regarding the conditions of imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader and founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who has been jailed in a high security prison on the island of Imralı in Turkey since 1999.
In their letter, Solidaires stated that it has been ten years since the lawyers of Abdullah Öcalan applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to end the isolation.
The union called on the Council of Europe to ”support the demand for the release of Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners,” saying, ”The release of Abdullah Öcalan is vital for a political solution in Turkey, and the Middle East as well. The ECHR, the Council of Europe and the UN should apply sanctions on Turkey for violating international laws regarding the conditions of imprisonment.”
Miroslav Papa, director of the Private Office of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General replied to the letter by Solidaires on behalf of Burić, according to ANF.
”There is a regular and a classified dialogue and cooperation between the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the Turkish authorities on the conditions of detention in this prison. The report of the CPT regarding its visit to Imralı in 2021 and the responses of the authorities will be announced to the public in accordance with the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, Punishment and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment,” Papa said.
Papa went on: “In October 2011, Abdullah Öcalan and five other prisoners in Imralı prison made individual applications to the ECtHR, especially regarding restrictions on visits by family members and lawyers. Abdullah Öcalan made another application with similar complaints in September 2018. These requests were shared with Turkey by the Court in accordance with its procedures. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe does not have the power to interfere in the judicial independence of the court.”
Papa concluded that the Council of Europe, its organs and institutions pay strict attention to ensure that Turkey and all other signatory states comply with the standards regarding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.