The ‘Freedom for Öcalan’ Committee, founded in October at a conference in Bologna, presented its work to date and its demands at a press conference in Rome.
The committee was founded on the initiative of Rete Kurdistan, an Italy-wide network in solidarity with the Kurdish freedom movement, by intellectuals, artists, trade union members and lawyers of Abdullah Öcalan. Since then, talks have been held with civil society organizations and signatures have been collected from 550 prominent figures.
The press conference was attended by Amedeo Ciaccheri (Mayor of Rome VIII), Giovanni Russo Spena (Spokesman of the ‘Freedom for Öcalan’ Committee), Yilmaz Orkan (Kurdish Information Office Italy), Arturo Salerni and Luigi Saracani (lawyers of Öcalan), Cesare Antetomaso (Democratic Lawyers Association), lawyer Simonetta Crisci, Luisa Morgantini (former MEP), Simona Maggiorelli (director of Left magazine) and Luciana Catelliana (former MP and columnist for Il Manifesto) participated.
The press release recalled that Abdullah Öcalan had requested political asylum in Italy in 1999 and that his request for asylum had been recognized: "Mr. Öcalan is a citizen of Rome. He has been in solitary confinement for over twenty years and is now over seventy years old. His isolation has also been denounced by the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).”
The Committee announced that further talks will be held in Italy at parliamentary and government levels. Official requests for talks have been made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Presidency of the Senate and Parliament, and the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Committees, among others.