“Rêber Apo is no ordinary prisoner,” Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Member Sabri Ok said. “He is the leader of the Kurdish people, and the creator of the democratic modernity paradigm, which has impacted women, all of society and all of humanity.”
Speaking to ANF, Ok said the disciplinary penalties issued to Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed founding leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), serve as an excuse to deepen the absolute isolation Öcalan is subjected to.
“Our people should remain on the streets until they hear from the leader,” Ok said. “Turkey has had a bad track record. There was an incident of poisoning in 2006. The Turkish state uses immoral methods, and the results come up years later.”
Öcalan is currently serving a life sentence in the İmralı Island Prison, after being convicted of terrorism and treason charges in 1999. At the time, the PKK leader was issued the death sentence, which was later commuted to life in prison without parole when Turkey abolished the death penalty as part of its EU accession negotiations.
Turkey “violates all laws including international law and pressure our leader in an inhumane manner,” Ok said.
The KCK executive accused European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) of failing to fulfil its duties “from day one”.
“Their approach was too political, they abandoned the measures of law,” Ok said.
CPT held a visit to Turkey in September to inspect the situation in migrant detention centres. The anti-torture body also held a visit to İmralı Prison, but did not make any statements on whether the CPT delegation met with Öcalan or the other three inmates housed therein.
“They did not share anything on the health situation of Rêber Apo. They just held a visit. When his lawyers asked about his health, the CPT did not respond. They did not even confirm they went to İmralı,” Ok said.
“We are justified in treating this matter with doubt and rage. We don’t know what exactly happened, but one thing we know is that this situation is serious. It is an extraordinary situation that is kept hidden from us,” he continued.
Ok also called for Öcalan’s release from prison altogether.
Öcalan “always has thoughts and suggestions for the Kurdish issue, democratisation in Turkey, developments in Rojava, the Middle East and the globe”, Ok added.
Turkey not allowing Öcalan’s lawyers to visit him and inspect his conditions is criminal, Ok said. “If that comes to pass, we have the right to respond to that in kind.”