İmralı isolation: 449 meeting applications were left unanswered

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  • 10:22 25 September 2023
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ISTANBUL - The absolute isolation in İmralı has entered its 31st month. At least 449 interview applications made during this period were either left unanswered or rejected citing "disciplinary" penalties.
There has been no news from PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held under severe isolation conditions in İmralı Type F High Security Closed Prison for 24 years, since his phone call with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on March 25, 2021. The state of not being able to hear from Abdullah Öcalan, as well as Hamili Yıldırım, Veysi Aktaş and Ömer Hayri Konar, who are held in İmralı, has entered its 31st month.
PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan was last able to meet with his lawyers in 2019. Five meetings were held in 2019 due to public pressure following the hunger strikes that were launched on November 8, 2018, under the leadership of Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-chair Leyla Güven, and spread to all prisons. The last lawyer meeting took place on August 7, 2019. Lawyers have not been allowed to meet with their clients since the said date.
The last date that Abdullah Öcalan and Hamili Yıldırım, Veysi Aktaş and Ömer Hayri Konar met with their families was August 12, 2019. Since this date, the families' requests to meet their relatives have either been left unanswered or rejected.
The last contact with Abdullah Öcalan was the “restricted” phone call with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on March 25, 2021. In this meeting, which lasted approximately 4 and a half minutes, PKK Leader Öcalan expressed his reaction to the situation with the following words: "What you are doing is very wrong. The state is playing wrong, and so are you. This is neither legal nor right. This is never acceptable. This is also very dangerous. Are you aware of what you are doing? I want my lawyers to come here and have a meeting with me. This is a legal thing. I have been here for 22 years. How will this problem be in the future? This problem can only be resolved through law. Why don't they come here? If there is to be a meeting, it should be with the lawyers because this situation is both political and legal.”
While the absolute isolation, referred to as "incommunicado" in the international law literature, continues, the attempts of lawyers and families continue. Asrın Law Firm lawyers and families submit new applications to both Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office and İmralı Prison Directorate every week, requesting a meeting. Since the last contact with Abdullah Öcalan on March 25, 2021, at least 312 applications for lawyers and at least 137 family applications have been made to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office and İmralı Prison. However, the applications are either left unanswered or blocked with unjustified "disciplinary penalties".
Bursa Execution Judgeship rejected the application made by the lawyers on July 10, requesting the family's views, on the grounds of "disciplinary punishment". The judgeship did not provide any information regarding the reason and date of the sentence in question.
While many actions, events and campaigns were organized at national and international levels to end the isolation imposed on the PKK Leader and ensure his physical freedom; In the 29th month of absolute lack of communication, 2 million 646 thousand 211 signatures collected in Northern and Eastern Syria with these demands were delivered to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Finally, Asrın Law Firm appealed to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) between April 30, 2023 and July 31, 2023 for its clients, PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, whom they have not heard from since March 25, 2021, and Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş, who are held in İmralı. The firm made an application regarding the developments covering the dates. Lawyers stated that the rights of visiting lawyers and family were illegally blocked and the situation of not being able to receive news "incommunicado" continued uninterruptedly within the scope of the application. For all these reasons, the lawyers warned the CPT that "Tomorrow may be too late" and emphasized that the CPT should go beyond the visit schedule and visit İmralı "urgently". 7 requests were listed in the application.
MA / Ergin Çağlar

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