Lawyers of Abdullah Öcalan Go to İmralı Prison

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Lawyers Rezan Sarıca and Newroz Uysal, the lawyers of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan, went to the İmralı Prison to meet their client Öcalan this morning (May 22).

The lawyers applied to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and requested a meeting with Öcalan. After the positive reply of the Office, the lawyers went to the Gemlik Gendarmerie Commandership at 9.20 a.m.

As reported by İhlas News Agency (İHA), an identity check was performed on the lawyers, who were seen to be having underwear, daily newspaper and a few books with them to be brought to Öcalan.

Afterwards, the lawyers set off for İmralı Prison, which is located on İmralı Island in Marmara Sea, in company with officers from the District Security Directorate, Gendarmerie and Prison Administration.

Last meeting on May 2, 2019

The last meeting held between Öcalan and his lawyers was on May 2, 2019. The details of the meeting were shared with the public in a statement for the press on May 6. In their statement, the lawyers from the Asrın Law Bureau also shared the message of Öcalan.

Before this last meeting on May 2, Öcalan was permitted to meet his lawyers eight years ago, on July 27, 2011. Since then, he had not been allowed to meet anyone including his lawyers and family members. On January 13, 2019, Öcalan could have a brief meeting with his brother Mehmet Öcalan.

On May 16, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül announced that the ban preventing Abdullah Öcalan from meeting his lawyers in İmralı Prison has been lifted. Gül stated that “the decisions regarding the meeting ban have been revoked and a meeting opportunity has been provided.”

Minister Gül also indicated that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture inspected the İmralı Prison on May 7. However, no meeting between Öcalan and his lawyers had taken place since then.

Hunger strikes, death fasts due to isolation

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Hakkari MP and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair Leyla Güven went on a hunger strike on November 8, 2018 with the demand that the isolation imposed on Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan be ended.

On December 16, hundreds of inmates from more than 50 prisons across Turkey followed suit and went on a hunger strike. As of March 1, 2019, thousands of inmates have been on a hunger strike. Since then, eight inmates have claimed their own lives with the same demand. 30 people have also announced that they have gone on a death fast. (EKN/SD)

* Photograph: Mezopotamya Agency