Situation of Öcalan discussed at Aragon Parliament

The Commission for Citizen Appearances and Human Rights of the parliament of the Cortes de Aragon, in the Spanish State, discussed the situation of Abdullah Öcalan.

The Commission for Citizen Appearances and Human Rights of the parliament of the Cortes de Aragon, in the Spanish State, held a meeting with a representative of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK).

The meeting was in response to a petition by several civil society associations and groups who demanded the commission to address the issue of Kurdish People’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

Ozlem Tanrikulu, from the KNK, was accompanied by Pedro Lobera, National Secretary of International Relations at OSTA, who said that “more than 70 cities in the world have demanded a political solution to the Kurdish question”, and added that: “several talks and workshops have been organized to make known the reality of the situation”.

Lobera spoke in representation of his trade union, OSTA (Trade Union Organization of Workers of Aragon), as well as the General Confederation of Labor of Aragon and La Rioja (CGT), Aragonese Workers Union (SOA), Unitary Collective of Workers (CUT) Aragonese State, (EA) Chunta Aragonesista (CHA), Anticapitalists of Aragon, Alazetal Association, Zaragoza Kurdistan Support Collective.

Ozlem Tanrikulu explained the current situation of the Kurdish people and denounced the “violation of the human rights that the leader of the Kurdish People’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan, is experiencing after more than 25 years in isolation in the maximum security prison island of Imrali."

She said that since 1993 "Öcalan has worked to resolve the Kurdish question through democratic means, and has always opted for dialogue and negotiation, but the Turkish government's bloc policy has opposed it." For this reason, she added, the Kurdish leader "is kept in an isolation cell in the Imrali prison, on an island in the Marmara Sea, where since 2014 he has only been able to have five family visits and make two phone calls in fifteen years".

Tanrikulu said that, in 2022, “the Human Rights Committee requested the prisoners' access to their lawyer without restrictions, but in this case it does not apply.” Likewise, she reported that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture “has constantly criticized the conditions of Öcalan's isolation, but to no avail.”

To conclude her presentation, Tanrikulu said that in “2023 there were campaigns, strikes, demonstrations and workshops against the policies of this prison,” and invited the deputies present in the room to “sign the letter to the CPT asking to send a delegation to the island to speak with the leader and check on his well-being.”

After the intervention of Tanrikulu, the PAR Aragonese party spokesperson, Alberto Izquierdo, said that “the situation and isolation are regrettable,” and added that they are “willing to defend the human rights of anyone.”

The Partido Popular representative José Antonio Lagüéns described the situation as "brutality and political repression", while assessing that "with this repression, Turkey is not qualifying for membership in the European Union."

For his part, Sergio Ortiz (PSOE) said that “the Kurdish people need firm international support, which includes the support of the Aragonese Parliament,” and has “urged that the rights of political association be respected and that cases of political persecution.”

Isabel Lasobras (CHA) underlined that they gave full support to the Kurdish issue, that they participated in the campaign demanding freedom for Öcalan, and added that the Kurdistan region's problems were aggravated by economic interests because of its natural resources, and therefore the fundamental rights of the Kurds were not recognized. She called for sensitivity and responsibility to the international community.

From Aragón-Teruel Exist, Tomás Guitarte has admitted that this situation “is a reality that is unknown in Spain” while he has lamented that “it is a tremendously complex historical injustice for which it is necessary to find a solution.”

After the meeting, the following deputies signed a letter to the president of the CPT, urging him to send a delegation to Imrali:

PAR Aragon Party Alberto Izquierdo from the Mixed Group.

Tomas Guitarte from Teruel Existe Party

Chunta CHA Party spokesperson Isabel Lasobras

Partido Popular spokesman Jose Antoni Lagüens

In addition, the member of the Congress of Representatives of the Spanish State

Vicenç Vidal, Sumar Més also signed the letter.