On Tuesday morning, the co-chairs of the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E) along with representatives of various faith-based organisations of the Alevi and Yazidi communities in Germany, gathered to take a turn in the vigil in support of freedom for Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The ”Freedom for Öcalan” vigil was launched outside the Council of Europe office in Strasbourg on 1 December as part of the international “Freedom shall prevail: Act for Abdullah Öcalan” action, that demands the urgent release of Öcalan, who has been imprisoned on the remote island of İmralı in Turkey since 1999.
A delegation from the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) welcomed the KCDK-E co-chairs Fatoş Göksungür and Yüksel Koç for a meeting that lasted about half an hour, at which the KCDK-E representatives submitted a file outlining their demands to the CPT, according to ANF.
Yüksel Koç stated that they had held a meeting with two delegates from the CPT who had previously visited Imralı Prison.
“We told them that as long as our demands are not met, we will keep on protesting and we will continue our resistance here. We told the CPT delegates that the CPT is a committee to prevent torture, and as İmralı island prison is itself a venue based on a system of torture, we demand that the CPT fulfil their duty,” he said.
Disclosing further details of their meeting, Fatoş Göksungur said: “We have reiterated our demand, which we have also communicated in all our previous meetings, that leader Apo [referring to Öcalan], needs to be able to have regular visits from his lawyers and family members, because he has been held in extreme isolation conditions for 23 years now.”
Göksungur shared a significant note from their meeting with the CPT regarding their interest in “media coverage” relating to the issues, statements and demonstrations about Öcalan and İmralı Prison.
“The CPT also stated that their officials have been closely following the media coverage on this issue. Of course, these demonstrations will continue, in order to keep raising public awareness,” she said.
She said they had stressed that İmralı is by its very nature a system of torture, a fact proclaimed by the CPT themselves in their last report.
“We told them, however, that they have failed to fulfil the requirements of their duty and monitor the situation,” she said.
The CPT delegates told the KCDK-E co-chairs that they “do indeed attach importance to İmralı,” she stated.
“They said that they have reports and ongoing activities in regard to İmralı. But, they told us, according to the requirements of their founding rules, they are not able to disclose certain information to the public.”
After the press statement, it was announced that the vigil for Öcalan in Strasbourg will continue on a daily basis in the coming days .