International Imralı Delegation requests urgent meeting with CPT

International İmralı Peace Delegation wrote a letter to CPT officials requesting an urgent meeting on the situation of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan after reports spread on social media in Turkey regarding his health.

An international peace delegation organized by the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) and consisting of 12 members from Europe and North America, including Members of European Parliament and of the Council of Europe, academics, and journalists, has requested a meeting with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) on the situation of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The letter by EUTCC Chairperson Kariane Westrheim on behalf of the International Imralı Delegation, addressing President of CPT Mr. Mykola Gnatovskyy, First Vice-President of the CPT Ms. Marzena KSEL (Poland) and Second Vice-President of the CPT Mr. Mark Kelly, is as follows;

“We, members of the Imrali delegation, have serious concerns about the health and well-being of the Kurdish leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan and ask for an urgent meeting with the CPT preferably in week 43 or 44, in order to discuss his situation. We are asking that the CPT make an urgent visit to Imrali prison to verify the conditions under which Mr Öcalan is detained, the state of his health and his circumstances.

For the past few days and weeks, news has been circulating on social media that Mr Öcalan has died in prison. The rumours and speculations in the Turkish media on whether he is dead or alive have created concerns amongst the Kurds in Turkey, the Middle East and in Europe and democratic minded people in the EU and internationally. Everyone is aware of the Kurdish people’s sensitivities regarding the health and life of their leader. Concerns deepen and social tensions rise especially because Mr. Öcalan has not be allowed any visits by anyone include his lawyers and family members since April 2015.  

The CPT has previously visited Mr Öcalan and made recommendations on two occasions. Mr. Öcalan’s case is on the CPT’s records. The recommendations of the CPT have not been honoured by Turkey’s government. The State Prosecutor of Bursa has said family and lawyers’ visits are not possible “due to the state of emergency”. The CPT is the only authority that is in a position to visit Mr Öcalan. For these reasons, also it is essential that CPT makes an urgent visit to Imrali prison and reports back as early as possible. The report will provide authentic information about Mr Öcalan’s condition and help us to allay fears and refute social media rumours, if they are indeed rumours.

Given the Committee for Prevention of Torture (CPT) earlier interventions in Mr Öcalan’s case, we urge the CPT to take follow-up action and verify the conditions of Mr. Abdullah Öcalan’s detention, his health and security.

We would like to make an appointment to meet you and discuss the CPT visit as early as next week. Kindly let us know when you are able to meet with us.”


Ms. Miren Edurne Gorrotxategi, Member of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assemble and member of Spain Senat, (Basque Country, Spain); Ms. Ulla Sandbaek, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Member, Group of the Unified (Denmark); Ms. Julie Ward, a current Member of the European Parliament, (UK); Mr. Francis Wurtz, a former MEP, (France); Mr. Ögmundur Jonasson, a former Minister of Justice and trade unionist, (Iceland); Mr. Jonathan Steele, veteran Foreign Correspondent, (UK); Mr. Father Joe Ryan, the Chair of the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission, (UK); Mr. Dimitri Roussopoulos, the Chair of the Transnational Institute for Social Ecology (TRISE), (Canada); Mr. Federico Venturini, a member of the TRISE advisory board and researcher at Leeds University, (Italy);  Mr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer from the University of Cambridge, (UK); Ms. Radha D’SOUZA, Reader in Law, University of Westminster, UK and Indian Social Justice and Civil Rights Activist, UK

On the other hand, a press conference will be held in the European Parliament on the matter on Wednesday (tomorrow). The conference will be attended by MEP Julie Ward, participants of the vigil and Kurdish individuals.