Keeping silent about the isolation imposed on jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Prison prevents possible democratic developments in Turkey, lawyer Rêzan Sarıca wrote on Friday in an article for news website Gazete Karınca.
He will try to reveal the legal and illegal aspects of the disciplinary punishments, which are a part of the isolation practices in İmralı in his article, Sarıca said. “There has been no news for about 17 months from Mr. Öcalan and our other clients, Mr. Ömer Hayri Konar, Mr. Hamill Yıldırım and Mr. Veysi Aktaş imprisoned in İmralı Island Prison.”
Objections were made to national and international courts and institutions against disciplinary punishments, but after these objections, the prison began to hide disciplinary punishments from family and lawyers, he added.
The judiciary is blocking the way for Öcalan and other clients to receive legal support, and to object to the practice of these disciplinary punishments in domestic or international law, lawyer said.
Disciplinary punishments are filed for 3 months. The implementation of a disciplinary punishment on 3 February, despite the three-month period expiring, is one of the examples of routine rights violations in İmralı, he continued. “When this decision was objected, the criminal court again rejected the objections, claiming that a new disciplinary penalty was imposed in İmralı on 31 May 2022 and became final on 15 June. This situation is striking in terms of revealing the role of the judiciary in the isolation of İmralı.”
Even because they were chatting while playing basketball, the prison administration gave disciplinary punishments to Öcalan and other prisoners, he said. “It is not possible to explain the claims that the sports activities of four prisoners in the form of walking in İmralı Island Prison disrupt the functioning of the institution, order and security with logic or legal rules.”
“It is necessary not to close eyes and ears to the isolation and torture in İmralı, which bans lawyers and family visits, and Öcalan’s democratic struggle against it, and it is necessary to express words and ideas candidly,” he concluded.
Last contact with Öcalan was in March 2021, when he very briefly spoke with his brother Mehmet Öcalan in a phone call. The conversation was cut off abruptly after only a few minutes. His lawyers last received information about him in August 2019. After this time, communication bans of three months at a time prevented any family member or representative from reaching the imprisoned PKK founder. Most recently, the visitation ban was extended for another three months in May.
The Öcalan family had their appeal to visit him rejected on 29 March, the 10th rejected appeal since 2018.