Lawyers call for an end to the isolation of Öcalan

Members of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) denounced the isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in Imrali prison insisting that “making contact with Öcalan will be a step towards ending the current social crises.”

Members of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) made a statement in front of the courthouse in Amed (Diyarbakir) province concerning the isolation imposed on Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş in Imrali Prison and the visitation ban on lawyers to their clients in the prison island. Many lawyers attended the event in their robes.

“The Kurdish problem has gone from bad to worse for the last 23 years, causing other crises,” a lawyer from the ÖHD, Muhittin Muğuç, said.


"Mr. Öcalan has been kept in isolation from the outside world for 23 years in Imralı Prison, a military forbidden zone designed for a single person with no legal basis,” Muğuç said, recalling that there has been no news from Öcalan since March 25, 2021.

“It is unacceptable that a prisoner is deprived of his most fundamental rights. The fact that no information about his material and spiritual existence has been provided for 11 months constitutes a crime. The isolation is clearly contrary to domestic and international legislations and cannot be accepted conscientiously and morally. It is implemented by disseminating chauvinist feelings among the citizens. Militarist policies fostered by chauvinism create an atmosphere of violence and trigger genocidal and ecological destruction. These policies, which dissipate public resources ultimately, subject most of society to misery and hunger. These simple evaluations, unfortunately, reveal our current reality as well as historical facts. The crises we are going through today can no longer be sustained.”

Muğuç pointed to the discrimination against Abdullah Öcalan, saying, “The discriminatory execution regime imposed on Mr. Öcalan due to his political identity, unlike all other detainees and convicts in Turkey, is against the law on execution of sentences, the Constitution, Minimum Standard Rules of the Detainees and Convicts, and the ECHR within the scope of the Equality Principle and Prohibition of Maltreatment. Legalization of the discriminatory execution regime through various legal regulations played a decisive role in shaping and implementing the domestic laws and resulted in a reactionist and oppressive understanding of law."


Muğuç emphasized that the mistreatment executed in Turkey's prisons originates from the isolation system in Imrali prison. “The introduction of high security prisons, non-implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the 'Right of Hope', the restrictions imposed on the execution regime put into practice after July 20, 2016 have taken their source and general applicability from the Imrali isolation system,” Muğuç noted.

The lawyer pointed out that previous attempts for peace and solution have been frustrated each time. “The Imrali process that has developed since 1999 has been the most obvious example of the failure of these attempts. It is known to the public that Öcalan has been making efforts for the development of peace and democracy. It is a necessity to create the conditions needed for these efforts within the legal framework.”

“The practices and regulations at Imrali have targeted social peace and contributed to the destruction of rights and freedoms. The recognition of Mr. Öcalan's legal rights, in particular of his right to contact his family and lawyers, is constitutional and in accordance with the domestic laws. Moreover, it will constitute a step towards ending the current social crises. We urge the Turkish authorities to adhere to the principles of universal law and to fulfil their constitutional responsibilities,” Muğuç concluded.