Asrin Law Office, representing Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), on Tuesday accused Turkey’s Justice Minister of being responsible for the illegal and inhumane isolation of their clients.
In an open letter addressed to Turkey’s Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, the lawyers stated that Öcalan and three other prisoners in İmralı island are being subjected to practices outside the “legal system”, with no access to communication with the outside world, including their lawyers and families.
“Where do you get the right to cut off communication,” the lawyers statement asked. “From which law do you derive the right to keep a prison and four Kurdish political prisoners in that prison under such conditions, and the right to cut off all their communication with the outside world,” it added.
The Asrin Law Office demanded the minister allow them to visit their clients and to make sure that prisoners have access to communication and medical treatment. The statement emphasised the unlawfulness and inhumanity of the prisoners’ conditions, describing them as a violation of both Turkish and international law.
Öcalan has been serving a life sentence in the isolated prison in the northwestern island of İmralı since 1999. While he was never able to have full use of his rights to communication as an inmate, the PKK leader was on occasion able to relay messages to the outside word via his lawyers. However, he was last able to communicate with his lawyers in 2019, and his final contact with the outside world was in March 2021 in the form of an interrupted phone call with his brother.