Speaking to Mesopotamia Agency, Berdan Acun, a lawyer and an executive member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (OHD), commented on the link between the isolation imposed upon Abdullah Öcalan and the solution of the Kurdish question in Turkey.
Whilst the hunger strikes launched in Turkish prisons to protest against the isolation of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, as well as human rights violations in prisons more generally, have reached their 62th day with the 13th group of strikers, lawyer Berdan Acun shared his perspective of the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan.
“In terms of the national Penal Execution Regime, the status of Imrali Prison is considered different compared to other prisons. What is the main reason for this? It is the phenomenon we call ‘isolation’,” said Acun.
“Imrali is a prototype of the way Turkey is governed”
Acun noted that the system of isolation was first imposed on Imralı Prison. “Then tested as a prototype of the way the country is governed. Imrali has been the pilot prison for illegal practices and unlawfulness, which were designed in the preliminary form to be gradually applied over to other prisons around Turkey, and later on all over the whole of society,” he said.
“Right to hope”
The executive lawyer of the ÖHD also explained about the previous decision of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the application of Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers. He mentioned that one of the most important things not seen in the decision of the ECtHR is that the court has detected the violation of “Right to hope” in Öcalan’s case.
“What does aggravated life imprisonment mean? We face a situation here of remaining imprisoned until death. This is clearly against the execution law in terms of both the universal human rights law and the principles of criminal law. As a matter of fact, the European Court of Human Rights made a decision on this subject in 2016,” OHD’s Acun said.
“The ECtHR decision said that the punishment of life sentence until death is a violation of rights, a prohibition of torture, the right to hope, which is a universal right for all prisoners, and was violated. The Court gave a decision of violation for the right to hope, because the right to hope was violated on Imrali. However, no legal regulation regarding the violation of rights detected by the ECtHR was made.”
“Prevention of the solution to the Kurdish question”
The isolation imposed so heavily and so regardless of the national and international law is based on the policy of deadlock in the Kurdish question in Turkey, according to lawyer Acun. “Öcalan is a very active subject, who played a significant role during the 2013-15 solution process (also known as the peace process when the PKK and Turkey had a ceasefire agreement). One of the purposes of the isolation imposed upon Öcalan is to prevent all the possible discussions of the Kurdish question that could be raised to suggest a collective, peaceful solution,” he said.
“Via the isolation policy, demands for the solution of the Kurdish question is prevented by isolation. So the main grounds of the isolation of Öcalan is to block all demands that are to be voiced for the peaceful solution of the Kurdish question.”