Öcalan’s lawyer Newroz Uysal acquitted

One of Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers, Newroz Uysal, facing a prison sentence of up to fifteen years, was acquitted of the charge of "terrorism" by court in Amed.

Kurdish lawyer Newroz Uysal has been acquitted of charges of "terrorism". A court in Amed (tr. Diyarbakır) on Wednesday found no evidence that the lawyer was a member of a "terrorist" organisation. The prosecution had demanded a prison sentence of up to fifteen years against Uysal, who is part of the defence team of the Istanbul-based law firm Asrin, which represents Abdullah Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners in the high security prison on the island of Imrali.

Uysal was charged with participating in activities of the grassroots movement Democratic Society Congress (DTK), two information events organised by the Kurdish women's movement TJA about the isolation on Imrali, and in a WhatsApp group in which lawyers exchanged information about rights violations in the course of the military siege and curfews in the Kurdish town of Cizre in Şırnak in the winter of 2015/2016.

The trial, which has been pending since late 2021, took place before Diyarbakır 10th Heavy Penal Court. Uysal was defended by Gulan Çağın Kaleli, Faik Özgür Erol and Nahit Eren. The latter is the president of the Amed Bar Association and was appointed by proxy as the third defence lawyer in the place of Halise Dakalı, who was detained on Tuesday in the nationwide arrest operation against the opposition and civil society.

Uysal stated that the trial was an attack on the legal profession. She is accused of not only having fulfilled her legal duties, but of sharing the interests and concerns of her clients.

"I am charged because, as a lawyer, I handle brutal cases of crimes against humanity, and I am involved in the defence of Abdullah Öcalan. The case is baseless and the terror charge against me would be arbitrary, evident from the fact that the investigation was only launched after the isolation on Imrali was broken in 2019,” Uysal stated.

Newroz Uysal is one of the last people to have met Abdullah Öcalan in person. Together with her colleague Rezan Sarıca, the lawyer was able to visit her client several times on the prison island of Imrali between May and August 2019. Prior to this, a ban on visits by Öcalan's lawyers was maintained for eight years.

The visit was won through a mass hunger strike initiated by Kurdish politician Leyla Güven. In the conversation, Öcalan and his fellow prisoners Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysel Aktaş delivered a message calling for a dignified peace and a political solution to the Kurdish question and problems in Turkey.

The lawyers have had no contact with Öcalan since August 2019, the last sign of life being a brief telephone call with his brother Mehmet Öcalan in March 2021. The three fellow prisoners of the Kurdish leader are also affected by the suspension of contact.