Abdullah Ocalan and the gates of Imrali prison
Political parties and organisations across Kurdistan have joined forces to call for an urgent meeting with Kurdish and PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Öcalan has been under aggravated isolation since 5 April 2015 but the recent coup attempt in Turkey has intensified concerns about his health and safety as speculation about a plot to assassinate him have surfaced.
Following calls by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and Öcalan's lawyers, the Kurdish and Syriac Joint Diplomacy Committee, which is formed of many parties and organisations in the four parts of Kurdistan, and the International Imrali Delegation have launched appeals to international bodies for the isolation on Öcalan to be lifted and for an urgent meeting to take place.
The Joint Diplomacy Committee of Kurdish and Syriac Parties and Institutions, which includes the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), the Patriotic Union Party (PUK), Gorran, Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Assyrian Union Party in Rojava, sent an open letter to EU officials calling for action to enable an urgent meeting with the Kurdish leader who has been in solitary confinement since 1999.
The letter said, "At this critical moment, we call upon on the HR/VP Mogherini, Commissioners Hahn and Stylianides, President Juncker and EP President Schulz to scrutinise the situation, paying particular attention to the condition of Mr. Abdullah Ocalan. We urge as well Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland to eliminate all concerns regarding Mr. Abdullah Ocalan’s safety and well-being.
"Finally, we request all the EU Member States to recommend the CPT to meet with Mr. Ocalan but also demand that his lawyers and family are allowed to meet with him too."
Meanwhile, the International Imrali Delegation, which tried to visit Öcalan earlier in the year but was prevented by Turkish authorities, also issued a statement urging the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to uphold its responsibilities. The open letter underlined that; "For millions of people, Mr Abdullah Ocalan is their political leader and his well-being is of the utmost concern for them. Any hesitance and inaction by the CPT would aggravate the concerns which are legitimate and humane. To alleviate these concerns, the CPT must act with the utmost urgency and demand to meet Mr Abdullah Ocalan face to face at Imrali Island."
The Delegation includes Nelson Mandela's lawyer and comrade Essa Moosa, writer and activist Janet Biehl and Prof. Kariane Westrheim, the chairperson of the EU Turkey Civic Commission.
It has also been reported that the Kurdish leader's lawyers had applied to the United Nations on 12 July following failed attempts to meet with their client.
The application to the United Nations emphasized that Öcalan's conditions must be brought in compliance with law as the Imralı Isolation System is entirely shaped in line with the political ruling policies without any heeding of laws and judicial authorities.
Lawyers also demanded necessary steps be taken by the Turkish government and the UN to end the aggravated isolation, end the denial of meetings with his family and lawyers and removal of all the communication obstacles imposed upon him.
A decree was passed by the Bursa Judge of Execution banning all contact with Öcalan and the three other prisoners on Imrali for the duration of the 3-month state of emergency declared in Turkey.
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