From Norway to the CPT: Send a delegation to Imrali

Associations, MPs, artists from Norway sent a letter to the president of the CPT asking him to send a delegation to visit Imrali.

A group from Norway consisting of various voluntary organisations, trade unions, political parties and members of parliament and human rights activists, wrote a letter to the president of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), Mitchell, to demand him to send a delegation to Imrali and visit Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan we are writing to you.

The letter said: "We will be joined by thousands of supporters who will peacefully gather around the headquarters of the CPT and CoE for five days of protest in the hope of gaining attention.

For the past 36 months, Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is seen by millions of Kurds as their rightful political representative, has been held in an extreme form of incommunicado detention by the Turkish state on the prison island of Imrali. During this illegal and inhumane isolation, Mr. Öcalan has been "disappeared" and dropped into a void of "non-existence," while being denied all contact with the outside world, including his lawyers and family. Throughout this period, Turkey has attempted to transform Imrali Island into a "floating coffin". Mr. Öcalan, who is now 75 years old, has been subjected to cruel torture through isolation for 25 years, and over the last three years, no information has been provided concerning his health. At this point, even his whereabouts cannot be confirmed, and his physical condition is a highly sensitive issue for many Kurds who see him as embodying their national voice."

The letter continued: "This is why we are kindly asking you, the CPT, to act. As the CPT, you are entitled to visit all places of detention of states which are party to the Convention, including Turkey. This affords you the ability to send your team of experts to Imrali, where the Turkish government must grant you unrestricted access to visit where Mr. Öcalan is being held captive and allow you to interview him in private so he can communicate with you freely.

We would like the CPT to act in accordance with Article 3 of the CoE Statute, which states that: "Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Mr. Öcalan is a citizen of a CoE member state that has been denying him his human rights for two and a half decades, and for the last three years, has been depriving him of his legal rights to meet with his lawyers and speak with his family."

The letter asked "with complete sincerity, is that you please immediately send a delegation to visit Imrali Island to speak with Mr. Öcalan and check on his well-being. Following that, we would greatly appreciate it if you could encourage Turkey to allow him to receive a visit from his family and lawyers, so that they are in compliance with CoE and CPT obligations. This would help address an urgent human rights issue and concern for millions of Kurds and could also renew the spirit of reconciliation which is needed to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey."

The letter was signed by:
Ingrid Fiskaa – MP
Andreas Sjalg Unneland - MP
Hege Bae Nyholt – MP
Cathrine Linn Kristiansen – Leader – Womens front
Pia Maria Roll - Theater director
Truls vall Strand – Co-leader Solidarity With Kurdistan
Synneøve Kronen Snyen – Leader – Socialist Youth
Kaja Yngsdal Hilleren - International leader - Socialist Youth
Tore Linné Eriksen – Professor  
Knut Nærum - author
Martin Raknerud – Artist (Rapper)
Sigbjørn Skåden - Sami author
The organization Grandmothers for Peace
Petter Gottschalk – Professor