Academics at the University of Calabria in Italy announced that they had signed the petition launched as part of the “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan: for a just peace in Turkey” international campaign.
The Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) had launched the “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan: for a just peace in Turkey” campaign and called for international solidarity to secure the freedom of the Kurdistan Workers’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Seventy four academics teaching at the University of Calabria (UNICAL) issued a joint statement declaring their support for freedom for Abdullah Öcalan. The academics criticised the Turkish authorities for their prison isolation policy, noting that Abdullah Öcalan has been held in a high security prison island for 22 years. “Unfortunately, the international institutions, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – the CPT -have not be successful in ensuring the basic human rights of Abdullah Öcalan”, they stated.
The UNICAL academics stressed that Abdullah Öcalan is a symbol of peace in the Middle East and for the freedom struggle of the Kurdish people, in the same way that Nelson Mandela became a symbol for change in South Africa during the apartheid regime.
Defining North and East Syria as a perfect example of democratic co-existence between different religions and ethnicities enabling gender equality, the academics stated that North and East Syria stands in the way of extremist threats in the region and the continuing attacks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, or Daesh).
“Since the day he was imprisoned, Abdullah Öcalan has continued to influence the people of North and East Syria with his thoughts so that the people of North and East Syria have turned their lands into the lands of co-existence. The continuation of the imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan and the ongoing attacks in North and East Syria cannot be disregarded by the academic world. Therefore, we support the international campaign for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan”, declared the University of Calabria academics. Bova Vincenzo, Cersosimo Domenico, Cimatti Felice, Costabile Antonio, D’Ignazio Guerino, De Gaetano Roberto and Ferrari Vincenzo are amongst the academics who declared their support for the campaign.