More than 60 people from the world of politics, art, civil society, law and academia in France wrote to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

A letter was sent to the CPT with the signatures of 61 people including senators, parliamentarians, academics, lawyers, trade unionists, writers, journalists and political party presidents.

Among the signatories are the National Secretary of the French Communist Party, the First Secretary of the Socialist Party, many leftist and environmentalist MPs and senators.

In the letter, the CPT was called upon to “fulfill its responsibilities by immediately sending a delegation to Imralı to meet with Abdullah Öcalan and check his health condition.”

The letter said: “As members of a group of representatives of various non-governmental organisations, trade unions, political parties, peace and human rights organisations, activists, academics, professors, lawyers and journalists, we would like to hereby make an urgent call on you.

For 38 months, Abdullah Öcalan, who is regarded by millions of Kurds as their legitimate political representative, has been held by the Turkish state in an extreme form of solitary confinement on the prison island of Imrali. Turkey has made Mr Öcalan ‘disappear’ by way of his inhumane isolation – as if he no longer existed – which is contrary to human rights.”

The letter continued: “He has been denied any contact with the outside world, including his lawyers and his family, for over three years now. Throughout this period, Turkey has attempted to literally turn the island of Imrali into a ‘floating coffin’. Mr Öcalan, who is now 75 years old, has been subjected to isolation torture for 25 years, with no information about his health reaching the public in the last three years. At present, not even his whereabouts can be confirmed. Yet, his state of health is a matter of great concern for many Kurds.

We would therefore like to ask you, the CPT, to take action. As the CPT, you have the right and the responsibility to visit all detention centres of the states that have signed the Convention, including Turkey. This gives you the opportunity to send a team of experts to Imrali, where the Turkish government is obliged to grant you unrestricted access. You have the opportunity to visit the prison where Mr Öcalan is detained and you must be allowed to meet him in person so that he can communicate freely with you.”

The letter added: “We would like to ask you, the CPT, to act in accordance with Article 3 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, which states: ‘Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council as specified in Chapter I.’ Mr Öcalan is a citizen of a Council of Europe member state that has denied him his human rights for two and a half decades and that has also denied him the right to meet his lawyers and communicate with his family for three years.

We urge you to send a delegation to Imrali immediately to speak to Mr Öcalan and find out more about his welfare. It would be highly desirable if you could urge Turkey to finally grant Mr Öcalan the fundamental right to meet his family and lawyers. Such action is crucial to ensure that Turkey fully honours its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe. This would help resolve a pressing human rights issue and address the concerns of millions of Kurds. It could also revitalise the spirit of reconciliation that is necessary for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.”

The letter was signed by:

Fabien Roussel, National Secretary of the French Communist Party. Member of Parliament

Olivier Faure, First Secretary of the Socialist Party, Member of Parliament

Anne Stambach-Terrenoir, Co-Chair of the GUE Group of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Éric COQUEREL, LFI-NUPES Member of Parliament, Chair of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly

Frédéric MATHIEU, MP for LFI-NUPES Ille-et-Vilaine, co-chair of the Kurdish working group of the National Assembly

Francis Wurtz, Honorary Member of the European Parliament

Pascal Savoldelli, Senator

Anne Souyris, Senator of Paris

Raquel Garrido, LFI-NUPES Member of Parliament

Anna Pic, Socialist Party Member of Parliament

Andy Kerbrat, LFI-NUPES Member of Parliament

Hadrien Clouet, LFI-NUPES Member of Parliament

Daniel Salmon, Senator for Ille-et-Vilaine

Monique De Marco, Gironde Senator

Guy Benarroche, Senator from Bouches-du-Rhône

Danielle Simonnet, LFI-NUPES Member of Parliament

Dylan Boutiflat, PS International Secretary

Emmanuel Fernandes, LFI-NUPES Member of Parliament

Jerome Gleize, EELV

Grégory Blanc, Senator from Maine-et-Loire

Raymonde Poncet Monge, Senator of the Rhône

Raphaëlle Primet, Co-Chair of the Communist and Citizens Group – Municipality of Paris

Joël Dutto, PCF Honorary General Council Member, Bouche du Rhône

Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racisme

François Sauterey, MRAP Co-Chair

Pascal Torre, University Professor, France-Kurdistan Co-President

Ara Toranian is Co-President of the National Council of Coordinating Councils of Armenian Organizations (CCAF) in France.

Şahin Polat, Co-Chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Council (CDK-F) in France

Berivan Fırat, spokesperson of the Democratic Kurdish Council (CDK-F) in France

Khaled Issa, AANES

Jacques Taraf, CGT

Maison du Tamil Eelam (Center for the Protection of the Rights of the Tamil People)

Carol Mann, Sociologist and President of FemAid

Renée Le Mignot, MRAP Honorary President

François Devedjian, Lawyer

Jean-Christophe Martin, Lawyer

David Abide, Lawyer

Chris den hond, Journalist OrientXXI

Maryam Madjidi, Author

Rosa Moussaoui, Journalist

Pierre Barbancey, Journalist-Major Correspondent

Margot Barios, Columnist

Nils Andersson, Former broadcaster

Jeanne Delfour, Author

Marcel Doru, Author

Marc Walfrom, Journalist

Joseph Andras, Author

Mylene Salon, film director

Philippe Petit, journalist

Julien Conge, journalist

Gérard Mordillat, Author

Chowra Makaremi, Anthropologist

Marie Lière, Anthropologist

Léa Verrier, Sociologist

Jean-Louis Gavin, Sociologist

Geneviève Garrigos, Paris councilor

Rachida Brakni, Actress, director

Bernard Henri, Anthropologist

İbrahim Seydo Aydoğan, Senior lecturer, linguist.

Maxime Devant, Sociologist

Louis Bartant, Sociologist


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