The continuing isolation conditions in Turkey’s İmralı Island Prison and the reluctance of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to publish a report on conditions in the prison have been on the agenda of the Norwegian Parliament.
Norwegian Socialist Left (SV) MP Andreas Sjalg Unneland submitted a written question to the Foreign Minister on Sunday, expressing concern about the CPT’s refusal to publish its latest report on the prison conditions of jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.
In his parliamentary letter, Unneland highlighted the CPT’s previous reports expressing dissatisfaction with the restrictions imposed on Öcalan and other prisoners in İmralı Prison.
“After the CPT’s latest visit to İmralı Prison, they refused to publish their report on the visit on the grounds that they did not want to damage their diplomatic relations with Turkey,” the document said, calling on the Foreign Minister to officially demand the publication of the CPT report.
Öcalan has been held in İmralı prison since 1999 and has faced 24 years of increasing isolation, coupled with the systematic denial of family and legal visits, Unneland pointed out during the parliamentary session on Sunday. For the past two and a half years, the situation has deteriorated to the point of complete non-communication, with no updates on Öcalan’s status reaching the outside world.
A CPT delegation carried out an ad hoc visit to İmralı Island Prison in September 2022. Following the visit, the CPT concluded a report in March, but the report has not yet been made public due to the objections raised by Turkey.
There has been widespread criticism of the CPT’s decision not to publish its latest report. Human rights activists, lawyers and politicians have been vocal in their calls for the report’s publication. Despite months of pressure, the CPT has still not made the findings public on the grounds that it does not have the authority to publish reports without the consent of states.