Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Öcalan No Longer Single Prisoner on İmralı Island

Submitted by Tsiatsan on Wednesday, November 18 2009
güncel BIA 18.11.2009- After rights organizations had criticized the conditions of Öcalan's isolated imprisonment, 5 convicts have been transferred to İmralı Island where the PKK leader is imprisoned since 1999. He will be allowed to see them 10 hours a week.
The isolation of Abdullah Öcalan's imprisonment has been brought to an end by the transfer of 5 convicts to İmralı Island. The leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been imprisoned on the island for 10 years as the only convict. Yesterday morning (17 November) 4 PKK members and 1 member of the Turkey Workers Peasants Liberation Army (TİKKO), namely Şeyhmuz Poyraz, Cumali Karsu, Hakkı Alkan, Hasbi Aydemir and Bayram Kaymaz, were transferred to the remote prison island in the Sea of Marmara.

As reported by Hürriyet newspaper, a further 3 convicts will be brought to the F type prison within the coming days. Öcalan is allowed to see the other prisoners for a total of 10 hours per week.

Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin declared that the prison includes 6 solitary cells, 3 of them facing a common court yard. Ergin stated that since it is difficult to reach the island, both the prospect number of visitors and the health situation were taken into consideration for choosing the convicts.

Rights organizations had repeatedly criticized the prison conditions and Öcalan's isolation.

The Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) had visited the prison in 2007. In their following report they requested to improve Öcalan's detention conditions. After reiterating statements about mal-treatment, thousands of people demonstrated in several cities in 2008 for an improvement of the conditions.

The Human Rights Association (İHD) worked out a report in 2003, entitled 'İmralı Single Person Prison'. In the following years, the association emphasized the report's evaluation to protect Öcalan's safety.

Among the major problems mentioned in the report were the facts that the island is difficult to reach and thus visits form the family or lawyers are impeded. Furthermore, the limited physical space, as well as lack of health service and mal-treatment were pointed out in the report.

After a long time of resistance against the criticisms, the government finally constructed a new prison on the island.

10 years on his own
Öcalan was caught by Intelligence units in Kenya on 16 February 1999. He was brought to Turkey and imprisoned on İmralı Island.

On 29 June the same year, the court sentenced Öcalan to death penalty. However, death penalty was abolished within the framework of legal harmonization with the European Union. Hereupon, Öcalan's sentence was converted into lifelong imprisonment without possibility of mitigation or parole. (EÜ/VK)