ÖHD: The demands of prisoners on hunger strike should be met

ÖHD expressed its support for the prisoners on hunger strike to demand an end to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish question.

The Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) issued a statement in Urfa expressing solidarity with the hunger strike of political prisoners in Turkey that has been going on for a week. The prisoners are taking part in the international campaign for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question. Their demand is the lifting of Öcalan's isolation on the prison island of Imrali.

The statement issued in Urfa was supported by the co-chairs of the ÖHD, Ekin Yeter and Serhat Çakmak, and numerous other lawyers. Lawyer Ayşe Şehriban Demirel from the central board of the ÖHD pointed out that Abdullah Öcalan has been in solitary confinement since his capture on 15 February 1999 and that the isolation has been further tightened since 2015: "This absolute isolation continues and reflects the AKP/MHP government's view of the Kurdish question and its policy of annihilation. There has been no news from Abdullah Öcalan since 25 March 2021."

Demirel recalled the statement made by the then Minister of Justice, Abdülhamit Gül, in 2019 that there was no obstacle to visits to Öcalan by his lawyers and family members. However, she said, more than four years have passed since then and the complete isolation of the prison island of Imrali from the public continues. The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) visited Imrali in September 2022, but no report was published, said Demirel and added: "It is an obvious fact that the strict isolation on Imrali has spread to all prisons. The hunger strike initiated by the political prisoners demands the lifting of isolation and a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question and is a decisive step."

Emphasizing that the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan is torture, Demirel continued: "Isolation violates the norms of national and international law. The isolation must be ended immediately, and the demands of the political prisoners must be met. We are closely monitoring the health and detention conditions of the prisoners who have gone on hunger strike in defence of their democratic constitutional rights. We call on all legal institutions to take responsibility in this matter. All political parties, non-governmental organisations and democratic institutions should take responsibility for a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question by immediately ending the isolation on Imrali and meeting the demands of the political prisoners on hunger strike."