Prisoners in Urfa face punishment for their participation in the freedom for Öcalan protest

Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against more than a dozen male prisoners in Urfa. The action against the political prisoners is justified by their participation in a campaign for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan.

The prison administration of a high-security jail in Urfa (Riha) has initiated disciplinary proceedings against several inmates. The background to the action, which is directed against political prisoners, is the participation of those affected in the campaign “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question”.

According to Mezopotamya (MA) news agency, a total of fifteen prisoners at T-Type No. 1 Prison are facing new disciplinary measures. They should be punished because they stood up for peace, freedom and human rights. The punishment usually means bans on visits or exclusion from sports activities.

The campaign “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question” was initiated in October last year and is being conducted internationally. As a contribution to this initiative, prisoners from the PKK and PAJK in Turkey went on an alternating hunger strike in November. At the beginning of April, this prison resistance entered a new phase.

The prisoners are sticking to their demand for Öcalan's release and a solution to the Kurdistan question and have decided to boycott court hearings and visits and telephone conversations with their relatives. The prisoners’ spokesman, Deniz Kaya, explained the background to the action by saying that the prisoners viewed the Kurdish people’s leader's freedom as being equivalent to their own freedom and therefore started their protest.

Öcalan has been imprisoned on the prison island of Imrali since 1999, most of the time in isolation conditions. There has been no sign of life from him for over three years.