The lawyers of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan told Green Left Party Istanbul parliamentary candidates Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Cengiz Çiçek that they objected to their client being the subject of politicians’ speculative debates ahead of the 14 May elections, and called for an immediate end to Öcalan’s 25-month-long incommunicado state.
The lawyers informed Önder and Çiçek, who visited Asrın Law Office on Thursday, about the isolation conditions in İmralı Prison, where Öcalan is being held, and reiterated their remarks in the written statement they recently issued.
The law firm’s statement came after pre-election debates on a suspected meeting between Öcalan and Turkish government officials, alleged to be an attempt by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to gain the crucial Kurdish vote.
In order to prevent the situation of Öcalan and the other three prisoners in İmralı prison from being subjected to disinformation ahead of the elections, the lawyers brought some relevant issues to the public’s attention and once again called for an end to their isolation.
According to Öcalan’s lawyers:
- Since its establishment, İmralı Prison has aimed to gradually wear inmates down both mentally and physically.
- It has been confirmed by European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings and European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reports that the conditions of imprisonment constitute torture.
- Right now, the PKK leader still remains imprisoned in a cell-type room in İmralı.
- For ten years and nine months, Öcalan was held as the sole detainee in the island prison.
- Along with him, there are now three other detainees in the island prison, kept in separate cells.
- He was only allowed to meet with them for six hours a week, according to CPT reports from 2016 and 2019.
- The other three detainees have not been allowed to see their lawyers even once for 8 years.
- Öcalan has had only five meetings with his lawyers in 12 years since 2011, all of them concentrated within a single year; 2019. The last meeting was in August 2019.
- During his 24 years in İmralı, Öcalan could use his right to communicate with his family on the telephone only twice.
- The first call was in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. The second call, which came after the social media posts that raised concerns about his life and well-being, lasted only two minutes before the phone disconnected.
- Since this last phone call on 25 March 2021, the lawyers and the families have had no information about the conditions of detention or the health of the detainees in the island prison.