Eight lawyers who represented Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were themselves acquitted of “membership of a terrorist organisation” for lack of evidence on Tuesday. The lawyers had been facing the prospect of up to 15 years in prison.
The lawyers turned defendants were accused of receiving instructions from Öcalan during meetings with him on İmralı Island Prison between 12 September and 28 November 2007. They firmly denied the allegations at yesterday’s hearing in Istanbul, asserting that they had simply been carrying out their professional duties.
The defendant Baran Doğan challenged the charges vehemently, highlighting the strict security measures imposed during visits to İmralı Island.
“When you go to İmralı, you are searched right down to your underwear; they don’t even allow a pen in. The legal visits at İmralı are recorded in any case. How can you even charge me?” Doğan said.
The indictment also alleged that the lawyers, under the guise of the attorney-client relationship, conveyed ‘organisation-related’ messages on behalf of Öcalan to the PKK on the outside.
The PKK leader has been incarcerated for 25 years, and for the past 27 months, he has been in a state of incommunicado. Öcalan has had only five meetings with his lawyers since 2011, all of those in 2019. The most recent was in August of that year.