Italian Committee sends a letter to the CPT, calling for urgent action for Öcalan

Dozens of Italian figures and organisations, including senators, MPs, political parties and law offices, sent a letter to the CPT asking for action against the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

International reactions to the absolute isolation conditions of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been kept in İmralı Prison under severe isolation conditions and from whom no news has been received for 4 years, and the attitude of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), which has the sole authority to enter İmralı, continue.

A letter signed by well-known names and institutions in Italy, including political parties, legal organisations, senators, MPs, journalists, writers and lawyers, was sent to Dr Alan Mitchell, President of the CPT.

The letter by the committee 'The time has come, Freedom for Öcalan' draws attention to the isolation in İmralı and calls on the CPT to fulfill its responsibilities urgently. Alongside the letter, the Committee also sent the decision of the Rome Court granting Abdullah Öcalan the right to political asylum to the CPT President.

The letter reads as follows:

“Dear Dr. Mitchell

On behalf of the committee 'The time has come, Freedom for Öcalan', we write to you with an urgent appeal that requires your immediate consideration.

Our committee coordinates the activities taking place in Italy on the subject of the release of Abdullah Öcalan, on the basis of a collection of signatures that has been joined by thousands of associations, movements, politicians, trade unions, mayors, intellectuals and artists.

Our institutional commitment took the form of submitting several motions and questions to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Italian Republic, as well as in the awarding of honorary citizenship to Abdullah Öcalan by 17 Italian municipalities, an initiative we promoted. On a legal level, jurists and lawyers who are part of the committee support the application of the ruling issued by the second civil section of the Court of Rome, in which Öcalan's right to political asylum in Italy was recognised on the basis of Article 10 of the Constitution.

For the past 38 months, Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, regarded by millions of Kurds as their legitimate political representative, has been detained in an extreme form of incommunicado by the Turkish state on the island-prison of Imrali. During this illegal and inhuman isolation, Öcalan was made to 'disappear' and thrown into the void of 'non-existence', while he was denied any contact with the outside world, including his lawyers and family. During this time, Turkey tried to turn the island of Imrali into a 'floating coffin'. Öcalan, who is now 75 years old, has been subjected to cruel torture through solitary confinement for 25 years and for the past three years no information has been given about his health, making it impossible at this point to verify his whereabouts and physical condition, which is a very sensitive issue for many Kurds who see in him the embodiment of their national voice.

That is why we kindly ask you, the CPT, to take action. As the CPT, you have the right to visit all places of detention in the states party to the Convention, including Turkey. This allows you to send your team of experts to Imrali, where the Turkish government must grant you unrestricted access to visit the place where Öcalan is being held and allow you to interview him in private so that he can communicate freely with you.

We would like the CPT to act in accordance with Article 3 of the CoE Statute, which states that: "Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons within its jurisdiction." Öcalan is a citizen of a CoE member state that has been denying him human rights for two and a half decades and depriving him of the right to meet his lawyers and talk to his family for three years.

We only ask you, in all sincerity, to immediately send a delegation to visit the island of Imrali to talk to Mr. Öcalan and check on his state of health. Afterwards, we would be very grateful if you could encourage Turkey to allow him to be visited by his family and his lawyers, so as to comply with the obligations of the CoE and the CPT. This would help solve an urgent human rights issue and concern for millions of Kurds and could also renew the spirit of reconciliation, which is necessary to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey.

With gratitude for your time and with the hope that you will receive this as a heartfelt appeal.”

The signatories of the letter are as follows:



Giovanni Russo Spena, Jurist, Former Senator and Spokesperson of the Committee "The time has come, Freedom for Öcalan" in Italy

National Association of Democratic Jurists

Green Left Alliance

National ARCI

Fabrizio De Sanctis, ANPI National Secretariat

Party of the Communist Refoundation/European Left

Massimiliano De Conca, General Secretary Flc Cgil Lombardia

COBAS Confederation of grassroots committees

Progetto Diritti

CRED Centre for Research and Development for Democracy

Angelo Bonelli, National Spokesperson of Green Europe, Member of Parliament for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Nicola Fratoianni, National Secretary of Sinistra Italiana, Member of Parliament for the Left Green Alliance

Luana Zanella, President of the Alleanza Verdi Sinistra Group in the Chamber of Deputies

Peppe De Cristofaro, President of Mixed Group in the Senate - Senator for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Marco Grimaldi, Vice President of the Group Alleanza Verdi Sinistra in the Chamber of Deputies

Francesco Emilio Borelli, Senator for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Ilaria Cucchi, Senator for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Devis Dori, Member of Parliament for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Francesca Ghirra, Member of Parliament for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Aurora Floridia, Senator for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Tino Magni, Senator for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Francesco Mari, Member of Parliament for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Elisabetta Piccolotti, Member of Parliament for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Massimiliano Smeriglio, S&D MEP for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Filiberto Zaratti, Member of Parliament for Alleanza Verdi Sinistra

Maurizio Acerbo, National Secretary, Party of the Communist Refoundation/European Left

Anna Camposampiero, National Secretary, Party of the Communist Refoundation/European Left and Executive of the European Left

Lawyer Marco Ugo Melano

Lawyer Arturo Salerni

Lawyer Simonetta Crisci

Francesco Troccoli, Writer

Lawyer Cesare Antetomaso, Spokesperson of the National Association of Democratic Jurists - Rome Branch

Lawyer Michela Arrecale

Fabio Marcelli, Jurist

Laura Ferraro Schrader, Journalist, Writer

Diego Schrader, Social and Health Educator

Valeria Schrader, administrative employee Municipality of Coriano (RN)

Franco Ferraro, entrepreneur

Lawyer Luigi Galloni, Democratic Jurists - Rome

Lawyer Effiong L. Ntuk - Turin

Dr. Giliola Corradi - Verona

Lawyer Aurora d'agostino

Stefano Galieni, Coordinator of the PRC-S.E. National Secretariat

Eleonora Forenza, European Left Secretariat

Elena Mazzoni, Resp Ambiente and Rome Secretary, PRC-S. E