The Kurdistan Information Bureau and Rete Kurdistan held a press conference in Rome to launch the freedom for Abdullah Öcalan campaign.
Mauro Palma, former Chairman of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and guarantor of prisoners in Italy, Marino Bisso from La Repubblica newspaper, İbrahim Bilmez, lawyer of Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan, famous cartoonist Zerocalcare, former senator and spokesperson of the Öcalana Freedom Committee Giovanni Russo Spena and lawyer Simonetta Crisci spoke at the press conference.
Marino Bisso and Simonetta Crisci explained the conspiracy process and the events planned to mark the 23th anniversary of the abduction of Abdullah Öcalan. The website www.freeapo.org and the video made for the campaign were presented.
Zerocalcare: Öcalan is crucial to achieving peace
Cartoonist and activist Zerocalcare recalled that he was among the first signatories of the campaign launched for the freedom of Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan and said: “For the solution to the Kurdish problem, Abdullah Öcalan's freedom is crucial. The positive or negative approach towards Öcalan directly affects the Kurdish people. Therefore, his freedom also means finding a peaceful way to solve the Kurdish problem.”
Palma: Öcalan is held in a unique prison system
Mauro Palma, on the other hand, stated that he had the chance to see Abdullah Öcalan three times when he was the head of the CPT, the last time being in 2011.
Palma said: “I am currently trying to guarantee the rights of prisoners in Italy, so it is not a contradiction that I am here today. Because the freedom and rights of all detainees must be guaranteed. Unfortunately, I must state that the situation of Abdullah Öcalan is handled very differently. He is held under a unique system. This is called total isolation.”
Bilmez: I haven't seen Öcalan since 2011
Öcalan’s lawyer, Ibrahim Bilmez, said that, unfortunately, he has not been able to go to the island since 2011, and that the only thing he saw in his 20-year career as a lawyer was that his client Abdullah Öcalan and his three other clients in Imralı were subjected to total isolation.
The lawyer said that Abdullah Öcalan should be released “because he is 74 years old. He has been in prison for 23 years and spent most of that time in isolation. We can say that he spent the equivalent of 40 years in prison. Also, as a member of the Council of Europe, Turkey needs to apply the right of hope to all prisoners, something recognized by the EC. Politically, such a strong and sincere political leader must be freed in order to achieve a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem and bring stability to the Middle East.”
Russo Spena: Italy should fulfil its responsibility
Giovanni Russo Spena recalled that he met Abdullah Öcalan 23 years ago and that he told him about the democratic confederalism project. The same project, said Russo Spena, “we see today implemented in Rojava.”
He recalled that Abdullah Öcalan was looking for a way to develop a peaceful and political solution when he arrived in Italy, in 1999. “However, Europe and especially Italy, could not respond to this important challenge, and therefore considered Öcalan as a heavy burden on their shoulders.”
Russo Spena said: “The Italian state should protect Abdullah Öcalan and fulfil its responsibility, also considering that he was granted political status in Italy.”
The full press conference and interviews can be heard here (in Italian)
On Saturday, Kurds and their friends in Italy will hold a day of activities in Rome demanding freedom for Öcalan.