Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been kept under severe isolation conditions for 22 years in the İmralı F-type High Security Closed Prison in Turkey, was given a new disciplinary punishment in January, reports the Mesopotamia News Agency.
Öcalan’s lawyer Rezan Sarıca stated that the attorneys were informed about the penalty in March, although the punishment was given in January.
“All fundamental rights such as the right to communication, the right to visit with family and lawyers, the right to a defence, the right to appeal, and freedom of thought and expression of our client are all violated,” Sarıca said. “With this last incident, we learned that a new
disciplinary penalty was imposed on our client in January 2021.Without any justification, disciplinary penalties were imposed on the basis of simple events like walking,” he added.
“We asked for the reason of the latest penalty, but did not get any response.”
Sarica noted: “Although the disciplinary punishment is given for one-and-a-half months or three months according to law, in reality it is different. In other words, it is applied over three months. In fact, this is used as a tool to prevent the fulfilment of other rights. We cannot meet with him for similar reasons,” he said.
Rezan also stated that they cannot fulfil their responsibilities towards their clients because of these illegal penalties given to Öcalan. “These disciplinary processes and prohibition practices are carried out in Imrali in a very secret way and all of our questions about them are left unanswered.”
Abdullah Öcalan has been behind bars in a high security prison built especially for him on İmralı Island since 1999. Deprived of his basic human rights, the PKK leader has been kept under heavy isolation.
Following speculation regarding his health condition (and even his possible death), Öcalan on 25 March was allowed to speak to his brother Mehmet Öcalan in a phone call. The call, which lasted for around five minutes, was cut off before clear information about Öcalan’s health condition could be ascertained.
This was the first “outside” contact with Öcalan since 27 April 2020, when the PKK leader was allowed to speak with his brother again over a phone call. In the most recent phone call, Öcalan expressed his protest and concerns over the phone call, defining the context in which it was undertaken as “illegal and dangerous”. He demanded to meet with his lawyers on the phone call he made with his brother.