Öcalan's lawyers send report to CPT
The European body has not visited Imrali since 2016.
An information report was prepared by Asrin Hukuk Bureau, the lawyers office looking after Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s legal rights. The report has been sent to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.
The report also includes some demands on Mr Abdullah Öcalan, Mr Ömer Hayri Konar, Mr Hamili Yıldırım, and Mr Veysi Aktaş who are currently being held in İmralı F-Type High-Security Closed Prison, visits from lawyer and family members from 1 January to 22 June 2018.
BAN ON VISITS BY LAWYERS
Lawyers listed the times they have been refused visits with their client in the first 6 months of 2018.
The lawyers also listed the reasons given for the refusal: most of the reasons ranged from bad weather to boat to the island not functioning properly.
BAN ON VISITS BY RELATIVES
The lawyers also included in their report detailed information on ban on visits by relatives.
Relatives of Mr Abdullah Öcalan, Mr Ömer Hayri Konar, and Mr Hamili Yıldırım, and Mr Veysi Aktaş submitted many applications for a family visit, said the lawyers. Yet, all applications submitted by Mr Mehmet Öcalan, Ms Fatma Öcalan, Mr Polat Yıldırım, Mr Selahattin Bilin, and Ms Sabiha Aslan were refused by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bursa.
LEGAL ISSUES AND CHANGES IN THE LEGISLATION
Lawyers reminded that on 2 March 2018, upon the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Bursa’s demand, the 1st Judge of Execution in Bursa decided that:
“1-The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bursa’s demand has been accepted,
2- In accordance with Articles 114/2-3, 115/1-b, and 59/4-5-7-8 of the Law No 5275 on the Execution of Penalties and Security Measures, the convicts, who are held in İmralı F Type High-Security Closed Prison, shall be
- banned from receiving visitors
- restricted from sending/receiving letters and phone calls,
- banned from receiving lawyer visits,
- restricted from exchanging documents with lawyers.”
The lawyers underlined that they have appealed against the decision and the 1st Assize Court in Bursa delivered the following decision, which is the final, on 26 april 2018;
“- the ban on receiving visitors shall be in force for 6 MONTHS,
- restriction on sending/receiving letters and phone calls shall be in force 3 MONTHS,
- the ban on lawyer visits shall be in force for 6 MONTHS,
- restriction on exchanging documents with lawyers shall be in force for 3 MONTHS
This decision has been made by unanimous vote.”
The report points out that "the Committee knows the no lawyer visit has taken place since 27 July 2011. In accordance with the law, which is shown to justify the ban, a lawyer and family visit must take place before delivering a decision. The law requires to obtain information, documents or facts that justify such bans. Then, these visits can be recorded or an officer may present, documents might be seized and finally such visits can be restricted by authorities. The legal provision lists all these measures. In order to ban lawyer or family visits, there are some other conditions namely such visits must be intervened on the ground of being contrary to law and submitting an official report. Yet, the decision in question has been automatically made and without providing any of these criteria".
WITH REGARD TO COMMITTEE’S REPORTS AND VISITS
The Committee published its report on its visit to Turkey, which took places from 28 to 29 April 2016, on 20 March 2018. The report was published after almost 2 years passed and with the Turkish Government’s request. We have submitted our views on the report and application, which referred to some issues to be explained, in April 2018.
The lawyers point out that "although there is no fixed visit period to İmralı, it has been observed that the Committee visits İmralı in around every three years. These visits, however, do not stop or eliminate torture practices in the prison. Considering the fact that visits took place in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016, one may expect that there could be a visit for 2019. Yet, the Committee has not announced any periodic visit to Turkey in 2019 though we are approaching 2019".
The Committee visited Turkey again in 2016, 2017 and lastly in April 2018. "Despite our demands - said lawyers - no visit to İmralı Prison took place. It raises concerns that there is no ad-hoc visit to İmralı Prison and even it has not been added to the list of periodic visits though there are continuous practices contrary to the prohibition of torture".
The lawyers called on the CPT to "make a public statement on the matter as it is stated in the Convention. It is known by the Committee that recommendations from reports on 2013 and 2016 visits have yet to be implemented".
Moreover, the situation has deteriorated in the prison, said lawyers.
In their conclusion the lawyers said: "Prisoners have no connection with outside world, been restricted to an area with no other human beings and subjected to an inhuman practice, which is unacceptable in the modern age, by administration's arbitrary decisions since 2011 and by judicial decisions since 2016. We have no information about the applicants' health and physical conditions".
Again, it is worth it to mention that no information and news were received from Imralı F Type Prison for 21 months. "There is a systematic ban on communication and contact with the outside world", the lawyers said.
The lawyers also pointed out: "Turkey has been governed by emergency decree laws under the State of Emergency for almost 2 years. Dozens of fundamental rights and freedoms have been suspended by authorities in this period. Furthermore, legislative changes made a negative impact on the essence of these rights and freedoms. The approval of Emergency Decree Laws, which means they have become laws, leads to a permanent State of the Emergency regime. The applicants' all rights such as family and lawyer visits, telephone calls, letters, and fax have been banned by the authorities. In this regard, there is a violation of all rights rather than one or two categories. İmrali Island Prison is a place where the prohibition of torture is continuously violated and concerns about whether the physical and psychological integrity is protected. The evidence raises concerns that there are serious violations in this regard".
The lawyers finally demand that:
- Imralı Prison and applicants should be visited as soon as possible,
- the procedure set out in Article 10/2 should be exercised as soon as possible since recommendations have not been implemented for a long period.