The letter by our co chairs to Mr. Mykola Gnatovsky, the president of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) about the condition of Mr Ocalan.
The President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
Dear Mr. Mykola Gnatovsky,
As you would know, Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016. We hereby would like to reiterate that from the outset the HDP has taken a firm stance against this attempted coup, which is unacceptable by any democratic standards.
Unfortunately, the three-month-long and nationwide State of Emergency Rule declared by the Turkish government with the pretext of “struggling against the coup” and the consequent government decree to arrange emergency rule practices lack the qualities to undermine the foundations of military coups. On the contrary, the decree is unlawful, almost completely ignoring universal human values, and fundamental rights and freedoms. One of the most worrisome emergency rule practices is the ban on visits to and communication with Mr. Abdullah Ocalan, who has been in Imrali Prison since 1999.
According to Turkish government authorities, the putschists also planned to attack the Imrali prison and murder Mr. Ocalan to deepen chaos in the country. This caused great concern among the Kurdish public. Although the Minister of Justice announced that Mr. Ocalan was safe, this official statement did not help to alleviate Kurdish concerns about the life and personal safety of Mr. Ocalan.
In addition, the First Enforcement Judge in Bursa passed a ruling on July 20, 2016 that banned all visits to Imrali prison, restricted correspondence and phone contacts with the convicts, and imposed further restrictions on the documents that the lawyers may deliver to the convicts for the duration of emergency state rule. The ruling grounds these restrictions on the law titled, “Rights of Those Under Arrest and Restrictive Measures.” Yet the law in questions pertains only to prisoners on trial, and not to those already convicted. Hence, it is obvious that this practice is unlawful, political, and arbitrary.
Upon the cessation of the peace negotiations with Mr. Ocalan to resolve the Kurdish Issue though democratic and political means, Mr. Ocalan has de facto been prevented from seeing his family members, lawyers, and HDP’s Imrali Delegation since April 5, 2015. With this latest prohibition in effect, any communication with Mr. Ocalan is formally blocked, subjecting him to absolute isolation.
We kindly ask the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture to immediately send a delegation to Turkey to visit Mr. Ocalan in Imrali Prison, and release the facts about his life and personal safety to the public. This will surely help to normalize social and political life in the country, especially among Kurdish citizens.
Selahattin Demirtaş & Figen Yüksekdağ