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Abdullah Ocalan in his cell shortly after his capture in 1999

10/01/2017 - 17:53 0
Treatment Ocalan faces in Imrali has spread to the whole of Turkey

Imprisoned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan’s lawyer has said the laws implemented on the Maximum Security Island Prison have spread across Turkey.

Ocalan’s lawyer Ibrahim Bilmez said national and international organisations had turned a blind eye to the rights violations against his client on Imrali Island Prison and ignored the report they had prepared.

Bilmez said the aggravated isolation Ocalan had been placed under since the collapse of the Kurdish-Turkish solution process had spread across the country.

“When Ocalan is placed under isolation security policies take over Turkey, when the isolation ceases we have a more hopeful picture,” Bilmez said.

Regarding the report they had prepared Bilmez said, “The isolation on Imrali is very strict. This is reflected in the bleak situation in Turkey. From the beginning of 2016 until the July 15 coup attempt we applied 57 times to meet with our client and his family 26 times. These applications were all rejected. After July 15 we applied 62 times and his family 54 times. His brother was able to meet with Mr. Ocalan just once. The public is aware of this meeting.”

Bilmez also said Turkey had become a lawless state, which could be seen from the treatment of prisoners. The lawyer argued that the lawlessness in Imrali had spread across the country’s prisons and into society.

“A state of emergency has always been in place in Imrali and a special law has been imposed on Mr. Ocalan. Now this ‘Imrali law’ has spread across the whole country. We have been saying this for a long time, but nobody was listening.”

Bilmez also criticised international human rights organisations and said the UN Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) was aware of the violations but that politics and interests had trumped law.

“Unfortunately when it is Mr. Ocalan or the Kurds in question, laws are suspended. Everyone needs protection by law. The rest of Turkey is experiencing this lawlessness.”

PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan has been kept in solitary confinement since 1999. He was the only prisoner on Imrali Island Prison until 2009, when 5 other prisoners were transferred to the prison. Ocalan is given an hour of recreation time each day with the other inmates. The Kurdish leader's treatment at the hands of Turkish authorities has depended on the political climate in the country. Ocalan has written several books in prison as part of defence papers submitted to court.

Interview by: Yasin Kobulan

Source: Dihaber