IPPNW physician Dr. Gisela Penteker called for the release of Abdullah Öcalan, stating that isolation is torture and affects the entire society.

Imprisoned for more than 24 years on the prison island of Imrali, the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan, has been held incommunicado for 31 months now, without any contact with the outside world. The complete lack of information regarding the situation of Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners – Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysi Aktaş – raises growing concerns about their safety and health. Countless requests for visits filed for years by the lawyers and families of Imrali detainees have gone unanswered.

The Turkish representative of the medical peace organisation IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) and general practitioner Gisela Penteker spoke to ANF about the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan who has not been heard from for 31 months.

The IPPNW physician, stated that the isolation of Öcalan is not limited to Imralı Island as it was turned into a policy that is imposed on the entire society today.

Defining isolation as a violation of basic human rights, Penteker said: “Isolation is torture and it is not implemented on Abdullah Öcalan alone. It is a system of torture that affects everyone, and is unacceptable.”

Remarking that international institutions have remained silent and failed to take action against the isolation of Öcalan, Penteker criticized the CPT (Committee for the Prevention of Torture) which has not published a report on its visit to Imrali in September 2022.

Dr. Gisela Penteker pointed out that Öcalan is denied access to the right to health because of the Turkish state’s isolation policy and the silence of international institutions. “Abdullah Öcalan must have a regular doctor check because of his advanced age. We know under which conditions the political prisoners in Turkish jails are held. Abdullah Öcalan must be granted the right to health and released. He must be freed.”


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