Civil disobedience action by Kurdish activists at CPT calls for action for Öcalan

Kurdish youths demanding the freedom of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan organised a civil disobedience action at the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in Strasbourg.

A group of Kurdish activists staged civil disobedience action at the CPT building in Strasbourg, France demanding action for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is held in total isolation in Imrali Island Prison in Turkey and has not been heard from for 35 months.

The protesters, who entered the CPT building with posters of Abdullah Öcalan and banners demanding freedom for the Kurdish leader, continued the protest despite the obstacles.

The demonstration started at 10.00 in the morning and lasted approximately two hours. The police attacked the protesters with pepper spray and batons.

Making a statement about their action, the activists said, "For 25 years, Leader Öcalan has been held captive in the Imrali torture system. This is a captivity that is intended to be imposed on the entire Kurdish people. Leader Öcalan is not allowed to meet with his lawyers and family in any way. The so-called 'European Committee for the Prevention of Torture' (CPT) ignores the inhuman treatment in İmralı. The European Parliament does not implement its resolutions. The Parliament does not mobilise the CPT."

"With this action, we, the Kurdish youth, demand that Europe give up this dirty policy against Leader Öcalan," the statement said.

Emphasising that they would continue their protests, the activists said, "Stop your illegal politics. The Kurdish people will not bow down to you."


The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) announced that it has completed its report on its visit to İmralı Island Prison on 22 September 2022 and submitted it to the government on 20 March 2023. It is not known whether Turkey has responded to this report until today, and the CPT has not made any statement in this regard. In 2023, Öcalan’s lawyers from Asrın Law Office submitted four separate communications to the CPT, which is responsible for preventing, detecting and eliminating torture, inhuman and ill-treatment within the borders of the Council of Europe. In these communications, the lawyers provided detailed information to highlight that the conditions of detention in İmralı island prison exceeded ill-treatment, that the practices under the aggravated life imprisonment regime that violate the prohibition of torture and the prohibition of discrimination continued systematically, that they had not heard from their clients since 25 March 2021 and that their incommunicado detention continued, that Turkey had not complied with any of the CPT’s previous recommendations and requests, that conditions in İmralı had always deteriorated rather than being improved, and that İmralı Prison’s durability should be examined given its position on a fault line. For these reasons, the CPT was requested to make a public statement concerning the conditions in İmralı, to invoke Article 10/2 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, to conduct a de facto visit to İmralı Island Prison to observe and examine Öcalan’s and three fellow prisoners’ conditions on site, and to end launch the relevant procedures to take coercive measures in an effort to lift the visiting ban and to improve the conditions of detention. However, 2023 went into the books as another year in which the CPT refrained from taking any coercive action to counter the İmralı Isolation System and remained idle and ineffective.