ÖHD lawyer Şahin: The state deepens isolation to avoid solving the Kurdish issue

ÖHD lawyer Şemdin Şahin reminded that the state has been systematically applying isolation for many years and added: "The state is deepening the isolation because it does not want to solve the Kurdish problem through democratic means."

As the heavy isolation conditions imposed on Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan spread across the country, the hunger strike launched by thousands of prisoners demanding the end of the isolation and of the increasing violations of rights in all prisons has reached day 153. Lawyer Şemdin Şahin, a member of the Free Lawyers Association (ÖHD), evaluated the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan to ANF.

Reminding that the state has been implementing isolation systematically for many years, Şahin said: "The most severe isolation is to be found in Imralı Island prison. Abdullah Öcalan is a person whom the state has dealt with in connection to the solution of the Kurdish problem. We have seen Abdullah Öcalan's active role in the solution process. It would be correct to say that the Kurdish people were punished in the person of Abdullah Öcalan with the isolation imposed on him. It is an indication of the state's approach to the Kurdish issue. Therefore, this isolation aims at preventing the address of the Kurdish issue and thus the demands of a solution within the society.

Since the state does not want to solve the Kurdish problem through democratic means, it is deepening the isolation.”

Şahin added: “Every detainee/convict prisoner has the right to make phone calls. It is not possible to legally explain the concession [Öcalan] to of a phone call made only because of the increase in reactions. The state said that with that phone call, news was given about Öcalan’s health. In other words, it is not possible to have a phone call right. The state is trying to legitimize the isolation with this phone call. That is why Abdullah Öcalan said that this phone call was not legal and that he wants to meet with his lawyers.”

Şahin underlined that “isolation has no place in both national and international legislation as it aims to intimidate” and added: "More precisely, it has no place in the legislation because it is a method of torture. Most recently, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), affiliated with the Council of Europe, found that an absolute isolation was imposed on Abdullah Öcalan and that there were practices contrary to the prohibition of torture. The CPT has confirmed in its report the lawyers who have exposed these practices in Imrali prison for years. This report by the CPT is of course valuable, but nothing has been made to improve the conditions of the Imrali island prison.”

Stating that Abdullah Öcalan is a person with political and social reflections, Şahin said; "It would be correct to say that his thoughts will have reflections not only within the borders of Turkey, but also in the Middle East and Europe. Considering Abdullah Öcalan's determination and insistence on democratic politics, it is beyond doubt that he will make a great contribution to the establishment of democracy and peace in the Middle East and Europe, and of course in Kurdistan.”

Speaking about the hunger strikers, Şahin continued: "The demands of the prisoners / convicts on hunger strikes are to end the absolute isolation on Abdullah Öcalan. The prisoners went on hunger strike to demand the law being implemented, actually. There is no precedent for this in the world. So people are dying to ensure the law is implemented. It cannot be denied that hunger strikes have negative effects on a person's life. The prisoners’ demands must be met before the conditions of prisoners worsen any further, as in 2018-2019. The demands of political prisoners / convicts are legal and legitimate. Isolation is completely arbitrary."