Lawyer Bekçi: Demands of prisoners is not independent from the demands of society

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  • 12:21 8 December 2023
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ISTANBUL - Stating that the hunger strike demands of prisoners for 'Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and solution to the Kurdish issue' is not independent of the demands of the society, ÖHD lawyer Berivan Bekçi said: "Civil society and legal organizations should support the action."
There has been no news from PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is held in absolute isolation in the prison on İmralı Island, for 33 months. The rotating hunger strike action, which started in prisons on November 27 to ensure physical freedom of Abdullah Öcalan, continues on its 12th day. Berivan Bekçi, member of the Prison Commission of the Istanbul Branch of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), evaluated the İmralı isolation and the demand of the prisoners.
ÖHD lawyer Berivan Bekçi said
Stating that the Imrali isolation has spread to all prisons and society and the isolation is not included in national and international agreements, Lawyer Bekçi said: "There has been no news from Mr. Öcalan since a short phone call on March 25, 2021. There is no information about his health and situation. Most recently, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) made a visit to İmralı; however, no information has been made available to the public. In other words, no information is given to the public who are concerned about his health and situation."
Underlining that the hunger strike action initiated by the prisoners against the situation in question, Bekçi said: "These hunger strikes demand visits to Imrali prison and the realization of a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue. The action will be carried out to realize these demands. Currently, a period of time has been set until February 15."
Stating that the prisoners on hunger strike may encounter possible problems during the hunger strike, Bekçi said: "There will be problems in hospital referrals during the hunger strikes. From our point of view, while the prisons have not even provided a simple medicine, it is not foreseen that prison administration will be able to provide the necessary vitamins or needs during the strike to them. Current conditions in prisons are worse than hunger strikes. We are sure that it will be very difficult. Unfortunately, a different attitude will not be taken and an increasingly violent situation will emerge. It seems possible that torture, rights violations and disciplinary punishments will occur."
Stating that they do not yet know how many prisoners are on a rotating hunger strike because they cannot visit all the prisons in the Marmara Region,  Bekçi said: "I have met with the prisoners in Bakırköy Women's Closed Prison. They have started a hunger strike process based on absolute freedom and the end of isolation. They have another demand; that the hunger strike of prisoners should be echoed in the public opinion to make a call. But at the same time, this demand is not independent of the people's demand. Because this strike started with the demand for a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue; that is why, they want the public to be their voice through press releases, applications or sit-in. We invite especially civil society and legal institutions to support the hunger strike action. We also invite the Ministry of Justice to take part in the action and fulfill its responsibilities and take steps to end the isolation in Imralı; moreover, as ÖHD, we will follow the process of the action.”
MA / Ömer İbrahimoğlu

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