Asrın Law Office: Precautionary decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee should be implemented

Reiterating that no news has been received from Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners in Imrali for 2 years, Asrın Law Office said that "the precautionary decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee should be implemented."

Asrın Law Office made a written statement regarding the absence of news from Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and the other Imrali prisoners, Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş, for 2 years.

In the statement, Asrın Law Office, said that the last phone call of the Kurdish People's Leader with his brother on 25 March 2021 was cut off within a few minutes, and despite all legal, administrative and democratic initiatives since then, no information has been received from any of the 4 prisoners.

The statement said: “Since we could not visit the prisoners or communicate with them in any way, we have no information about their health, detention conditions and legal status. We have sent 274 applications for lawyer visits and 118 for family visits to Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office and Imralı Island Prison Directorate in the past two years.  However, we had no answer to any of them. All judicial and administrative applications from the lower to the Constitutional Court against the violation of the prisoners’ rights regulated in national and international legislation were also inconclusive. With their decisions, the judicial organs have once again shown that they constitute another pillar of isolation by allowing the isolation in Imrali to continue at a torture and inhumane level, instead of protecting the rights of their clients and putting an end to illegal practices.”

The statement added that “The fact that no news has been received from Mr. Öcalan and our other clients cannot be explained by any legal article or law. Being cut off from the world and society, being deprived of legal protection and being kept under uncontrolled, uncertain and unpredictable conditions is an inhuman practice that equals torture. For this reason, an application was made to the United Nations Human Rights Committee with a request for measures to be taken in order to end the state of absolute lack of communication (incommunicado detention) in Imrali. The UN Committee accepted the request for measures as a priority and in September 2022 demanded from the Turkish government an end to the incommunicado detention, and that the applicants be given immediate and unrestricted access to a lawyer of their choice. As it did not comply with this decision, the government was reminded of the urgent request in January 2023. Although the process regarding the merits of the application is still in progress, the injunction decision made it clear that the conditions in Imrali were contrary to the prohibition of torture and that these conditions should be ended immediately.

However, the state, which is bound by international conventions, did not recognize the injunction decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, did not take appropriate steps, did not remove the obstacles in front of lawyers and family visits, and continued the state of absolute isolation. The more important these international decisions regarding the isolation of Öcalan and İmralı are, the more unlawful and political the state's non-compliance with them. The state policies in Imrali affect Turkey and Middle East politics. With security policies implemented instead of peace and democratic politics, polarization, crisis and chaos are produced in every aspect. Of course, this situation is closely related to the Kurdish issue, which has regional and global dimensions, and the decision to leave it unsolved. As the deadlock deepens, so does the state of absolute isolation. As long as the absolute isolation system is maintained, neither the Kurdish question can be resolved nor a democratic development can be achieved.”

The statement added: “In short, the existence of the Imrali isolation means the abandonment of law and democracy in Turkey. This, of course, creates a domino effect that harms the material and spiritual values of society, as well as the whole social and political life.

For a liveable country and geography, the Kurdish issue must be resolved and the Imrali isolation system must be buried in history. Taking the democracy and universal law proposed by Mr. Öcalan as the basic political framework is the only way out of this crisis.

We would like to emphasize again that, despite international decisions, we haven’t received no information about health conditions and other detention conditions of our clients for 2 years, and this is a matter of serious concern for us. These concerns should be addressed immediately. The precautionary decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee should be implemented immediately and it should be ensured that all the rights of our clients arising from legal and international agreements, especially lawyer visits, are provided. With this awareness and expectation, we invite the democratic public to address this issue with sensitivity.”