Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has been banned from meeting his lawyers for six months. On 23 September, Öcalan, Ömer Hayri Konar, Veysi Aktaş and Hamili Yıldırım were banned from meeting with legal representatives by the decree of the Bursa Second Office Judge of Execution.
Turkish authorities have blocked Öcalan’s lawyers from visiting the Imrali Prison multiple times since 27 July 2011. He has been imprisoned in the İmralı F-type High Security Prison in Turkey for 22 years.
Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair Leyla Güven launched a hunger strike in 2019. Other hunger strikes quickly spread across prisons in Turkey. Following the strikes the Turkish government allowed lawyers to meet Öcalan on 2 May 2019.
Turkish Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül made a statement on 16 May 2019 that the decision regarding the meeting ban had been removed and lawyers were allowed to visit Öcalan. Following that statement, Öcalan’s lawyers visited him in İmrali Island on 22 May, 12-18 June and 19 August 2019.
In August of this year, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) published a report stating that there had been no improvements to the harsh conditions faced by prisoners at İmralı.
According to the CPT report, the four prisoners were still only allowed to meet as a group for six hours per week, and in pairs for another three hours per week, while association during daily outdoor exercise remained prohibited. “In the committee’s view, such a state of affairs is not acceptable”, summarised the report.