International Delegation of Lawyers Against Isolation visits Öcalan’s lawyers

Having ended their programme in Amed, members of the International Delegation of Lawyers Against Isolation moved to Istanbul.

The International Delegation of Lawyers Against Isolation, consisting of 12 lawyers from Sweden, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Spain, Italy and Norway, who are in Turkey for talks on Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held under severe isolation conditions in İmralı High Security F Type Prison and has not been heard from for 36 months, started their visits in Istanbul after their talks in Amed (Diyarbakır).

The delegation paid its first visit to Asrin Law Office, which represents Abdullah Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners, Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysi Aktaş in the Turkish island prison Imrali. Lawyers Raziye Öztürk, Rezan Sarıca, İbrahim Bilmez and Cengiz Yürekli welcomed the delegation.

The visit started with introductions and information was given about the work of the Asrın Law Office. The members of the delegation stated that they have been working on the Kurdish question for years and that they had applied to the Ministry of Justice for a meeting with Abdullah Öcalan regarding the absolute isolation, but saw their application rejected. Recalling Abdullah Öcalan's application for political asylum while he was in Italy, the members of the delegation stated that they had made many attempts to address the isolation in İmralı.

Lawyer Cengiz Yürekli informed the delegation about the absolute isolation in İmralı and the state of 'incommunicado'. Yürekli said, "It has been 25 years in the system on Imrali that was built specifically for Mr. Öcalan. Currently Mr. Öcalan and three other clients are being held on İmralı. Since its inception, the İmralı system has gotten heavier and heavier with each passing day. There are reports by the European Court of Human Rights and 9 reports by the CPT on this matter. The situation we are in now is quite heavy for us. We have not received a single piece of news for the last 3 years. That is why your visit and the suggestions you will offer us are very valuable. Turkey is covered by European law, including the conventions. However, Turkey is not the only country that does not apply the law at the moment. Europe also does not apply the law against İmralı isolation. There has not been a single lawyer or family visit in the last 3 years. Phone calls, letters and correspondence are also prevented. We have no way of knowing whether the letters we send are delivered or not. We do not know the concrete situation of our clients and the conditions under which they are being held. They are being held incommunicado for 3 years without being allowed to meet with their lawyers and family members, even though they are required to meet with them in accordance with the Mandela Rules."

The lawyers gave the delegation the report they had prepared about İmralı.

The visit continued closed to the press.

The delegation will also visit the Saturday Mothers and the Istanbul branches of the HDK (Peoples’ Democratic Congress), IHD (Human Rights Association) and HRFT (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey).