Kurdish activists rally in front of the CPT: “Act for Öcalan”

As part of the days of action against the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan in Strasbourg, Kurdish activists marched in front of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

Following the call of the KCDK-E (Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress in Europe), Kurds and their friends launched a four-day sit-in action in front of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Monday to denounce the international conspiracy and to demand freedom for Abdullah Öcalan.

Representatives of several institutions and organisations, as well as politicians and artists partake in the action, which will be led by a different group for four days. Each group will submit a dossier to the Council of Europe to detail the goal and demands of the action; an end to the isolation of Öcalan, freedom and “right to hope” for Abdullah Öcalan, an end to the increasing atrocities in prisons and repression against the HDP, and the release of sick prisoners behind bars in Turkey.

The action was taken over on Tuesday by a group composed of members of the federations FCDK-Kawa and FED-GEL and activists of the Kurdish women's movement from Southern Germany, as well as the Kurdish musicians Hozan Diyar and Deniz Deman.

Speakers pointed out that there has been no sign of life from Abdullah Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners, Ömer Hayri Konar, Veysi Aktaş and Hamili Yıldırım, since March last year.

Tahir Köçer, a member of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), stated that the Council of Europe consistently ignores the rights violations on Imrali. He called on the CoE and CPT to uphold their duties, vowing that they would continue to shout out their demands until the authorities in question hear their voice and go into action.

Helene Dersim from the Kurdish Women's Movement in Europe (TJK-E) noted that Kurds have been demanding justice from European institutions for over twenty years. "As women, we will continue our struggle. Most recently, Kurdish women Jina Amini and Nagihan Akarsel were murdered. They have become symbols of women's freedom and we will always remember them everywhere," she said.


Another speaker at the rally was HDP MP Feleknas Uca. The Yazidi politician pointed out that the Council of Europe's annual report on Turkey will be published on Wednesday and that the HDP will use this occasion to hold talks on the situation in Turkey and especially in the prisons in Strasbourg, including with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

Uca remarked that the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan was directed against all peoples, and in parallel, an increase in torture and rights violations could be observed in all Turkish prisons. The Council of Europe should not remain silent on this, Uca demanded, adding that the increasing repression in Turkey was an indication of "the last twitches" of the Erdogan government, which would fall in the foreseeable future. "Believe me, we will succeed," Feleknas Uca said in her speech.


After the speeches, the activists marched in front of the CPT chanting "Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan" and "Jin Jiyan Azadî" (Woman Life Freedom). They also criticised the fact that Öcalan and other prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment are denied the internationally guaranteed "right to hope". A sentence of "aggravated life imprisonment" in Turkey means imprisonment until death. According to the European Convention on Human Rights, prisoners must have the prospect of a life in freedom.


On Wednesday, members of the PYD (Party for Democratic Unity from Rojava) and PJAK (Party for a Free Life from Rojhilat) parties, the Islamic Community of Kurdistan (CIK), the Alevi Federation FEDA, Yazidi associations and the cultural movement TEV-ÇAND announced their presence for the action in Strasbourg. A delegation will hold talks with the CPT. Activists from Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands are expected on Thursday.