Lawyer Demir: CPT has become a part of isolation

Reacting to the statement of the Ministry of Justice that "there is no isolation", lawyer Cemal Demir stated that the statements of the government are scandalous and emphasised that the CPT is also a part of the isolation in İmrali Prison.


Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan has been on the Turkish prison island of Imrali since 1999 and is completely isolated from the outside world. Since March 2021, there has been no sign of life from him and his three fellow prisoners, Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş. The ban on visits applies to lawyers and close family members of the four prisoners and also excludes written or telephone communication.

In response to a question from the DEM parliamentary group to the parliamentary human rights committee, the department of the Turkish Ministry of Justice responsible for prisons replied that the prisoners in the high-security Imrali prison can use all legal rights and therefore the term "isolation" is not applicable. As it emerged at the beginning of the week, two days before this response, a three-month ban on visits was given to the four prisoners as a "disciplinary punishment".

Commenting on the recent statement of the Turkish Ministry of Justice that "there is no obstacle to Öcalan's meeting with his family and lawyers", lawyer Cemal Demir told ANF that the isolation continues in a multidimensional and multifaceted manner.

Stating that no steps have been taken to abolish isolation, Demir noted that this is a practice contrary to human rights and universal law in the current legal and international legal system. Noting that there has been no initiative of international mechanisms and institutions towards the İmralı isolation until today, Demir said, "The CPT, which visits İmralı Prison from time to time, has almost become a part of the isolation. The CPT has completely lost its credibility. Mr Öcalan's lawyers and his family make frequent applications, but they are not put into process. There is a multi-headed law in İmralı.”

Demir pointed out that the Ministry of Justice's statement is scandalous considering the fact that the Bursa Public Prosecutor's Office rejected the applications made by the lawyers of Asrin Law Office by saying 'There is a disciplinary penalty'.

Demir continued: "In the response, it is said that there is no actual obstacle to the meetings. This statement is in need of explanation. Mr Öcalan has been kept under heavy isolation for many years. The government is responsible for this isolation. Despite this, the statements of the Ministry of Justice cannot be explained in legal and political terms. The institutions of the government contradict each other. It is now necessary to come to the line of peace and democracy.”

Lawyer Cemal Demir concluded: “Isolation is a practice against human rights and democracy. It is also against EU law, of which Turkey is a part, but they persistently continue this isolation. The aim of isolation will never be realized. Their aim is to silence the voice of the Kurdish people, but they will not succeed. This practice must end and all obstacles to the voice of peace and democracy must be removed. Isolation is a crime against humanity. Isolation will not benefit anyone, any power. Therefore, isolation, which is against the basis of human rights, must be abolished."