Asrin Law Office: The isolation continues in Imrali

Asrin Law Office issued a written statement on the meeting Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan had with his brother Mehmet Ocalan.

The statement said, “On January 12, 2019 our client Mr. Abdullah Ocalan met with his brother Mehmet Ocalan. As the public is aware, the meeting happened under extraordinary circumstances and outside of regular procedures of visitation. This visit of our client with his family has been the second time he has been contacted after the meeting with a HDP committee on April 5, 2015. The previous meeting happened on September 11, 2016 as a result of deep concerns and the subsequent public pressure in form of a short visit to confirm that he is alive.”

The statement pointed to the isolation and said:

Mr. Ocalan hasn’t been able to meet with his lawyers since July 27, 2011. As of today, the number of rejected appeals by lawyers for visits is at 781. Our 3 other clients in the Imrali Prison haven’t had the opportunity for direct communication either since their transfer to the island in March 2015.

Mr. Ocalan’s and the other clients’ right to visits with their families and lawyers had been prevented arbitrarily with excuses like coaster repairs and bad weather until July 15, 2016, and with the State of Emergency declared on July 20, 2016, the prevention started to happen by court orders. With the addition of a communication ban that covers telephones, letters, telegrams and any and all documents sharing on top of the court ordered ban on visits, Ocalan has been cut off from the outside world completely, which clearly constitutes absolute isolation.

This and other similar practices we mentioned have continued to date, developed particularly for one person in a manner that completely ignores the law. The Imrali Island Prison is administered as a land of arbitrary extrajudicial laws, court orders and practices specific to Mr. Ocalan.

One reason this isolation is able to be implemented so severely is undoubtedly the silence of international institutions responsible for overseeing and monitoring human rights, and them not showing the sufficient reaction or awareness. The primary responsible bodies European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) haven’t issued rulings on these practices, or the requirements of the rulings they have issued haven’t been followed through which contributes to the deepening of the absolute isolation.

Since February 15, 1999, the reality in Imrali is not a prison on legal basis but the construction of a system outside of the law. What has been happening is the construction of this system enveloping the whole of society and perpetuating itself, more and more intensified with every passing day. That is why the Imrali System requires a wholistic approach. Past experience has shown that day to day approaches removed from a wholistic understanding cause entirely skewed results.

In this sense, Mr. Ocalan meeting with his brother Mehmet Ocalan on January 12 to confirm that he is alive and healthy doesn’t mean that the conditions of absolute isolation changed or were eradicated completely. It is of course meaningful and valuable that contact with him has been made after 28 months, any piece of information and any contact pertaining to Mr. Ocalan’s health and living conditions has an importance that cannot be underestimated. The interest and expectation from the public has also shown the severity of the situation. This approach has confirmed once again the significance Mr. Ocalan has for the public, but due to the ongoing arbitrary isolation conditions that remain outside of the law, the next point of contact cannot be foreseen. As such, the appeal by lawyers for January 16, 2019 has again been rejected arbitrarily and immediately.

As we have stated, Mr. Ocalan’s ties to the outside world have been severed completely. He has been deprived of his most fundamental rights, unable to exercise his rights to health, defense and communication. The latest state of the Imrali Isolation System corresponds to an absolute lack of information. This exception of a visit can never be understood as the procurement of legal rights.

We must insistently repeat that fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by international treaties and at the constitutional level cannot even be points of discussion, let alone removed in the absolute sense. As such, the implementation of our client Abdullah Ocalan’s rights without exception is what is required by the law.


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