The Asrın Law Office, which represents the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the other three inmates at İmralı Island Prison, has issued a statement calling for an end to the incommunicado detention of their clients, with whom they have not been able to meet for four years and from whom they have received no word for 29 months.
“Our fundamental priority is to obtain direct and reliable information about Mr Öcalan and our other clients. We call on the authorities to put an end to this absolute communication ban and crime of torture,” the law office stated.
The last time Öcalan and the three other prisoners were able to meet with their lawyers was on 7 August 2019. Since then, all requests for lawyer-client meetings have been denied.
The law office further condemned the relevant state institutions for their disregard of the decisions issued by international bodies regarding the lifting of the ban on lawyers’ visits to Öcalan.
“The United Nations Human Rights Committee, following our appeal, communicated precautionary measures to the [Turkish] government between 6 September 2022, and 19 January 2023, stating unequivocally that [Öcalan] should be allowed to meet with his lawyers immediately and without constraint. However, these vital decisions have been flouted. Asrın Law Office had asserted that Öcalan was held within “a distressing torture system”, an unprecedented circumstance in both European and Turkish legal history.
The law office identified the crux of the government’s approach to the issue as its refusal to address the Kurdish question, leading to inconsistent policies, stating that the isolation of Öcalan is in stark contrast to global efforts towards dialogue and reconciliation in conflicts.
The lawyers’ statement recalled that Öcalan strongly advocated for democratic solutions and warned against relying on warfare, asserting that a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish question is possible within a week if the government’s policies align accordingly. The consequences of neglecting this call for a democratic resolution are evident in the nation’s ongoing political tensions, societal divisions and economic crises, the law office said.
The statement concluded with a pressing appeal to the authorities to establish direct and reliable communication with Öcalan and his co-detainees, given the inherent risks associated with their current isolation. Asrın Law Office further urged the democratic public to maintain vigilance and lend their support to address this issue.