Beştaş: The CPT is as much responsible as the torturers in Imralı

HDP’s Meral Danış Beştaş stressed that the CPT issuing a statement on the aggravated isolation in Imrali after 2 years means that the institution accepts the continuation of the torture. Beştaş demanded the way to Imrali be opened at once.

Reactions continue to grow against the CPT announcing the health and safety conditions of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan two years after their visit to Imrali.

HDP Deputy Group Chairperson and lawyer Meral Danış Beştaş spoke to the ANF and pointed out that the CPT’s two-year long silence to the currently ongoing torture shows their approval. Beştaş said the CPT will be as responsible in the case of any negative outcome as the ones implementing the torture, and stressed that the way to Imrali needs to be opened at once.


HDP Deputy Group Chairperson and lawyer Meral Danış Beştaş expressed her protest for the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) announcing their report on their visit in the Imrali Island on April 28-29, 2016 after 2 years. Having submitted several inquiries to the Parliament demanding the announcing of the report, Beştaş pointed out that the Turkish government had been preventing the CPT from announcing the Imrali report and this development now is a result of a deal. Beştaş said the CPT is the highest monitoring authority for the prevention of torture in the United Nations (UN), and that they are responsible at the highest degree for the instances of torture that happens in countries they visit in this sense. Beştaş continued: “Even though the government hasn’t confirmed this, by announcing the report on the aggravated isolation in Imrali after two years, the CPT as the highest mechanism in the prevention of torture has accepted as an institution that the torture continues still. A committee whose function is to prevent torture staying silent in the face of such ongoing torture means they approve of it, which is unacceptable.”


Beştaş stated that the UN’s Convention for the Prevention of Torture aims to have zero tolerance for torture in signatory countries and to eradicate torture and mistreatment, and added that according to international law, there is no statute of limitations on torture, which is a crime against humanity. Beştaş said: “In this sense, UN mechahnisms as well as European institutions are unfortunately taking on a political stance. But, what is expected of the UN and the CPT is to work to prevent torture without getting involved in politics in any way. This hasn’t been done in the case of Imrali, and there is no information coming out of the island as of now. Mr. Öcalan is not allowed to meet with his lawyers, his family or any political committees. This goes against Turkey’s domestic laws, and international law in general.”

Beştaş stressed that the incommunicado status of the Imrali island prison cannot be considered normal under any circumstances, and pointed out that the CPT had known this but failed to make their report public for two years nonetheless. Beştaş issued a warning: “The CPT will be held as responsible as those who implement the torture and mistreatment in case of any negative outcomes.”


Beştaş also spoke about the timing of the CPT announcing the report and said it is significant that the report in question has been announced at a time when Shengal and Afrin are on the public agenda and the government’s policies continue to get harsher. On the government allowing the publication of the Imrali report, Beştaş said: “How did the CPT decide on the timing? Do they have another deal with the Turkish government?” Beştaş said the aggravated isolation conditions continue in Imrali today and stated that the isolation hasn’t been lifted despite countless appeals and continuous protests in Europe and through international platforms.


Beştaş also spoke about the PKK Executive Committee Member Murat Karayılan’s comments of “The state sent a committee to Imrali to stop the resistance in Afrin,” and stated that this matter needs to be brought to light as soon as possible. Beştaş said they as the HDP will be following up on both the aggravated isolation in Imrali and the statement that a committee was sent, and added that the family and the lawyers needs to be allowed to visit Imrali without any delay to disperse any questions that have aroused: “There are no limits to this issue now. The way to Imrali needs to be opened as soon as possible.”