A group of 95 prominent figures in Germany wrote a letter to the European Committee against Torture, saying in the text of the letter: “In order to hold a meeting with Mr. Ocalan and obtain information about his health condition, we request that a delegation be immediately sent to Imrali.”

Group of prominent figures demands that  CPT send delegation to Imrali

The message read:

The Solidarity Network Germany for the campaign ‘Freedom for Öcalan – a political solution to the Kurdish question’ sent a letter to the president of the CPT, Mitchell, demanding him to promote a delegation to Imrali to verify the condition of Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

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:

Prof Dr Alex Demirovic, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Andrej Hunko, Member of the Bundestag, Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance

Anja Flach, Anja Flach, Ethnologist and author

Anja Popp, Lawyer

Anja Sommerfeld, Member of the Federal Board of Rote Hilfe e.V.

Anna Magdalena Busl, Lawyer

Barbara Majd Amin, Spokesperson for the groups of Peace Coordination Berlin

Cansu Özdemir, Parliamentary group DIE LINKE Hamburg

Carolin Kaufmann, Lawyer

Prof Dr Cengiz Barskanmaz, Fulda University of Applied Sciences

Christa Blum, Doctor, Member of the medical peace organisation IPPNW

Prof Dr Christine Graebsch, Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Christine Lüth, Lawyer

Dr Christoph Dembowski, Member of the medical peace organisation IPPNW

Christoph Klug, Qualified psychologist

Prof Dr Daniel Bendix, Friedensau Adventist University of Theology

Dr Dr Dario Azzellini, Political scientist and sociologist

Dieter Kaltenhäuser, Alliance for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians

Elisabeth Kaltenhäuser, Alliance for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians

Erika Wieland, Psychological psychotherapist

Erkan Pehlivan, Journalist

Ernst Ludwid Iskenius, Doctor, member of the medical peace organisation IPPNW

Fabian Scheidler, Publicist

Prof Dr Frank Deppe, Political scientist

Prof Dr Frieder Otto Wolf, Freie Universität of Berlin

Friedrich Roeingh, Journalist

Friedrich Vetter, Retired pastor

Gabi Zimmer, Former Member of the European Parliament, Die LINKE

Gerd Schumann, Author

Gerhard Baisch, Lawyer

Prof. a.D. Dr Gerhard Trabert, Association Poverty and Health in Germany e.V.

Dr med. Gisela Penteker, Member of the medical peace organisation IPPNW

Gökay Akbulut, Member of the Bundestag, Die Linke

Prof Dr Gregor Büchel, Cologne University of Applied Sciences

Dr Gregor Gysi, Member of the Bundestag, Die Linke

Gudrun Weckmann-Lautsch, Lawyer

Harald Klinke, Lawyer

Hartmut Plötz, Economist

Dr Helmuth Markov, Former Member of Parliament/ State Minister

Holdger Platta, Humanist Union

Isaac Gonzales, Chairman of Wir sind da e.V.

Joachim Schaller, Lawyer

Johannes Patett, Lawyer

Jörq Heuer, Cultural worker, activist

Dr Judith Dellheim, Economist

Jutta Kausch-Henken, Spokesperson for the groups of Peace Coordination Berlin

Prof Dr Karin Kulow, Middle East scholar and conflict researcher

Kerem Schamberger, Communication scientist and author

Konstantin Wecker, Singer-songwriter, author and composer

Laura Freiin von Wimmerserg, Moderator of the Berlin Peace Coordination Centre

Prof Dr Lothar Zechlin, University of Duisburg-Essen

Dr Lukas Theune, Lawyer, managing director of the Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein e.V. (RAV)

Marion Böker, Director/Founder, Counselling for Human Rights & Gender Issues

Marit Vahjen, Member of the IPPNW Human Rights Group Turkey

Markus Lautenschlager, Pastor

Matthias Jochheim, Member of the Medical Peace Organisation IPPNW

Prof Dr Michael Brie, Philosopher and social scientist

Michael Bouteiller, Former Mayor of Lübeck

Dr Michael Wilk, Emergency physician, psychotherapist

Milan Martín, Lawyer

Miriam Frieding, Lawyer

Prof Dr Mohssen Massarrat, Political scientist and peace researcher

Monty Schädel, Former political director of the German Peace Society – United Opponents of Military Service (DFG-VK)

Dr Muriel Gonzalez Athenas, Historian, University of Innsbruck

Dr Nikolaus Brauns, Historian and journalist

Nina Treu, Political scientist and freelance author

Prof. em. Dr Norman Paech, University of Hamburg

Prof. Dr habil. Peter Herrman, Researcher at the Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law, Central South University, Changsha, PR China

Prof Peter Ott, Merz Academy Stuttgart

Dr phil. Dr rer. med. Peter Ullrich, Senior Researcher, Technical University of Berlin

Peter Vonnahme, Retired judge at the Bavarian Administrative Court

Phil Butland, Senior Editor, theleftberlin.com

Dr Philipp Zehmisch, University of Heidelberg

Dr Rainer Werning, Ppolitical scientist & publicist

Reinhard Hauff, Pastor

Rita Belter, Lawyer

Roland Meister, Lawyer

Dr Rolf Gössner, Lawyer/publicist, member of the board of trustees of the International League for Human Rights

Prof Dr Rudi Schmidt, University of Jena

Rudolf Bürgel, Executive Committee of the Left Party Baden-Württemberg

Dr Stefan Meretz, Member of the Commons Institute

Stephan Kuhn, Lawyer

Susanne Ferschl, Member of the Left Party in the Bundestag

Thomas Kilpper, Artist, Berlin and Professor Art University in Bergen

Tim Engels, Lawyer

Dr Torsten Bewernitz, Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, ‘express’ editorial team

Prof Dr Udo Mayer, University of Hamburg

Prof. Dr Ulrich Gottstein, Honorary board member of the medical peace organisation IPPNW

Ulrich Tilgner, Retired journalist and non-fiction author

Prof Dr em. Urs Marti-Brander, University of Zurich

Ute Wellstein, Specialist in occupational medicine, member of the medical peace organisation IPPNW

Uwe Friesel, author

Prof Dr Werner Ruf, Political scientist and peace researcher

Dr jur. Wolfgang Bittner, Author and publicist

Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Wolfgang-Fritz Haug, Berlin Institute for Critical Theory”