The Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Initiative in Syria has sent a letter to 11 prominent international organisations in a concerted effort to draw attention to the continued isolation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader.
The letter, addressed to organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Council of Europe, the UN Committee on Torture, the Human Rights Council, the International Red Cross, the World Health Organisation, the Arab League and Amnesty International, urges them to fulfil their responsibilities in dealing with the situation and highlights the growing concern for Öcalan’s well-being.
Since his capture in 1999, PKK leader Öcalan has been in solitary confinement on the prison island of İmralı in Turkey. His last direct contact with lawyers took place in August 2019, while his latest communication with a family member was a brief phone call in the spring of 2021. His already limited access has been reduced to complete isolation, with the last approved visit by his family taking place in March 2020.
The fears and concerns for Öcalan’s health and safety among the global Kurdish community have only intensified with a recent earthquake in Gemlik, the departure point for the boats to İmralı.
In the letter, the Initiative underlines the urgency of the matter and stresses the need for collective international action to end the complete isolation on İmralı Island.