The Council of Europe (CoE) is closely monitoring the condition of absolute isolation Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan is held under at Turkey’s İmralı island prison, Swiss parliamentarian and physician Dr Josef Beppe Savary-Borioli said, adding that the council refrains from disclosing this for diplomatic reasons.
Turkey’s practice of imposing extended isolation on prisoners is entirely inhumane, violates all legal procedures, and defies reason, Savary told Serkan Demirel during a recent interview on Medya Haber TV. Savary is both the secretary of the Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Committee in Switzerland and the Swiss Director of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).
Savary said he was reassured to have been informed that the council were monitoring Öcalan’s situation by former Swiss Federal Prosecutor and former member of the CoE’s parliamentary assembly, Dick Marty.
The IPPNW director went on to draw parallels between Öcalan’s situation and that of South African leader Nelson Mandela, asserting that the conditions in the prison on İmralı are “much harsher and more challenging” than those in South Africa’s Robben island prison, where Mandela was held for 27 years.
“The resolutions to the issue in South Africa began with Mandela’s freedom. At the time of his release, South Africa had a more progressive president, FW de Klerk, compared to [Turkish President] Erdoğan,” he said.
Dr Savary also objected to the European Union listing the PKK a terrorist organisation, asserting this categorisation lacked legal basis and had been maintained purely due to international diplomacy, specifically “to appease Turkey”, he said.