Lawyer Ezio Menzione: Öcalan’s isolation is inhuman and has no legitimate ground

According to Ezio Menzione, the silence about the isolation and detention conditions of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in the Turkish island prison of İmrali means that nobody wants to disturb the Turkish government.

For 38 months, no news has been received from Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been kept under isolation in İmralı Island Prison for 26 years. Reactions to the severe isolation conditions of Abdullah Öcalan, who has been subjected to a state of absolute incommunicado unprecedented in the world by usurping his right to family and lawyer visits, continue to come. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), which has the sole authorisation to enter İmralı and in a sense holds the responsibility for the isolation, paves the way for the continuation of the isolation with its attitude.

Ezio Menzione, a prominent lawyer from Italy, spoke to ANF about the torture in İmralı and the CPT's position on the isolation in the island prison.

“It is more than 25 years that Mr. Öcalan is in prison and totally isolated. His conditions have worsened year by year. All the island is just for him. Alone on an island, sometimes, in some years, with somebody else – two, three persons. That is merely inhuman and has no legitimate ground whatsoever. Each country knows isolation, but not such isolation. It is inhuman not to be able to speak with your family, your children. It is illegitimate that you can’t speak with your lawyers, and this must end on a legal basis,” the lawyer said.

‘The trial of Öcalan was unlawful’

Referring to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in 2003 regarding the conditions in which the Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan was held, Attorney Ezio Menzione said: “The European Court dictated and suggested the way it may stop legally, with a new trial because the previous trial, some 30 years ago, was just unlawful. So, now it is time to go to a new trial and to put together legitimacy and moral standards.”

The Italian lawyer criticised the CPT's attitude towards Abdullah Öcalan's conditions, stating: “The CPT has a vision of what İmrali prison is and what Öcalan’s conditions are. But they didn’t spend much attention, I must say. And it has no power to enforce its feelings and its decision, but it has great power -political, ethical, moral- to enforce its willingness. It could decide that it is not legal, and remove illegitimacy from what the Commission has seen. That is a duty and I think that we must oblige the CPT to spend their efforts in front of such illegality. It is possible if all countries which support the CPT are willing to do their duties.”

Remarking that the silence in the face of the lawlessness in İmralı is unacceptable, Ezio Menzione said: “This silence means that nobody wants to disturb the Turkish government at this long moment. Turkey ranks the 1st country not implementing the decisions of the ECtHR. It is the first country, even worse than Russia. Russia has many more trials going on, but it sometimes implements decisions, while Turkey almost never implements, whether it is about Öcalan, Kavala or Turkish lawyers. We must find political and legal tools to oblige Turkey to implement such decisions. We may have an idea of sanctions or heavy trials outside of Turkey just to fix the standards of a fair trial and Turkey must observe such decisions.”