As the Turkish authorities continue to respond negatively to an appeal by the lawyers representing their high profile client, imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, it has also been revealed that there are even other more recent bans on visits that have been imposed upon him.
The lawyers announced today, Monday 29 November, that they had appealed on 22 November against refusals given by the authorities to visit the Kurdish leader, whose solitary confinement on the prison island complex of İmralı has been ongoing now for 22 years.
The lawyers had also appealed against refusals to visit three other prisoners on the prison island, who are also their clients, Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş.
They informed the media that they had had no contact with their clients in the past eight months, and had been provided with no information on their health and well being or conditions of incarceration including their ability to exercise their legal rights, or regarding preventive measures taken against the pandemic. The lawyers indicated that they had issued a special urgent demand for a physical contact visit with their clients in order to end ‘the state of information blackout’.
The appeal was rejected by a judge of execution who also stated that a recent six-month-ban on visits had been imposed upon Abdullah Öcalan on 12 October.
Also an appeal for a family visit by Öcalan’s family members had been rejected on the grounds that a three-month-ban on family visits had been imposed upon him since 18 August.
Two lawyers of Abdullah Öcalan, Rezan Sarıca and Newroz Uysal told Mezopotamya News Agency that the last visit by lawyers was made in August 2019, and the last contact, a phone call by a family member, brother Mehmet Öcalan, was made on 25 March 2021, which had been abruptly terminated.
The European Court of Human Rights said in March 2014 that Turkey had violated the rights of Öcalan both due to the inhumane conditions of his severe solitary confinement, but also due to his being sentenced to life imprisonment without any possibility of conditional release.
Although the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) had released a report in 2018 ‘calling upon the Turkish authorities to make sure that all prisoners at Imralı Prison are able to receive visits from their relatives and lawyers’, no implementation has yet been made by the Turkish authorities.