The representatives of a delegation from the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) once again failed to clarify whether they had met with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), during an inspection visit to Turkey in September.
The delegation carried out an ad hoc inspection to Turkey from 20 to 29 September 2022 that included a visit to Imrali Island where Abdullah Öcalan is held along with three other inmates.
The CPT visit was welcomed by lawyers from the Asrin Law Firm representing the Kurdish leader, though at the time they stated that they had not heard either from Öcalan or from their three other clients for 18 months, and they once more urgently demanded the lifting of the ban on family and legal visits to prisoners on Imrali Island.
Öcalan’s lawyers also held a face-to-face meeting with the CPT delegation following the meeting, but in a statement on 29 November they said that “CPT officials did not provide the least information about the conditions of our clients, nor did they answer any of our questions”.
The lawyers are still unsure whether the delegation had a meeting with Öcalan during the İmralı inspection. According to the lawyers, the lack of such a meeting, “would leave the CPT’s visit all the more controversial”.
Mezopotamya News Agency reached out to Therese Rytter, the head of the CPT delegation, to clarify whether a meeting with Öcalan had taken place.
“During the visit, the delegation also went to the İmralı F-Type high security prison to inspect the treatment and the prison conditions of four prisoners already being kept in İmralı. In that regard, special attention was paid to the social activities provided to the prisoners and their contacts with the outside world,” read the answer submitted to the news agency.
The PKK leader, who has been serving a life sentence since 1999, and three other prisoners are the only prisoners in İmralı and have been under strict isolation for years, rarely if ever allowed to communicate with the outside world.