HDP’s Feleknas Uca and Fayik Yagizay, accompanied by lawyer Rezan Sarica, held a press conference in the CoE on the hunger strikes, calling the Imrali Prison “the Guantanamo Bay of Europe” and urging European institutions to take action.
HDP Batman MP Feleknas Uca, Ocalan’s lawyer Rezan Sarica and HDP Representative for the Council of Europe Fayik Yagizay held a press conference in the Press Hall in the CoE. The meeting was attended by French media as well and the HDP committee called on the CoE and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to take action at once and to fulfill their responsibilities.
UCA: NO STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN AGAINST THE ISOLATION FOR YEARS
HDP MP Feleknas Uca spoke first and said 7.000 political prisoners have joined the the indefinite nonalternating hunger strikes led by Leyla Guven and that there are dozens of hunger strikers in many European countries.
Uca said the hunger strikes were launched because the CoE and the CPT don’t fulfill their duties and added that no steps have been taken despite lawyer visits being banned since 2011 and all visits being banned since 2015.
“IMRALI IS THE GUANTANAMO BAY OF EUROPE”
Uca criticized the silence in the face of hunger strikes and said the protesters’ health is at a critical stage. Uca said Europe played a role in the International Plot of 1999 and added that the systemic isolation in Imrali is a result of Europe’s silence.
Uca stressed that the Imrali prison is the “Guantanamo Bay of Europe” and added: “I am calling on the CoE and the CPT. The demands are extremely humane, the institutions should fulfill their duties.” She also called on Europe to “not be complicit in the isolation policy against Ocalan, which is a continuation of the international plot”.
Uca warned against the negative outcomes of silence in the face of the hunger strikes and stressed that the CoE and CPT will be responsible in such a case.
“THE ISOLATION OBSTRUCTED THE PATH FOR DIALOGUE”
Uca stressed that the isolation imposed upon Ocalan obstructed the path to peace and democracy in Turkey and mentioned the call for peace Ocalan issued during Newroz 2013. Uca said the call resonated globally back in the day and that it paved the way to a process of dialogue, adding that the AKP government reinstated the isolation in 2015 in stricter terms and ended the peace process.
SARICA: THERE IS UNNAMED SYSTEMIC TORTURE
Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan’s lawyer Rezan Sarica spoke in the press conference about the conditions of isolation Ocalan is held under. Sarica said all their appeals to meet with Ocalan have been rejected and that the rejection has become systemic, and added that the isolation has continued by the hands of the law since 2016.
Rezan Sarica said the visits are banned for 3 to 6 month periods and that these repeating bans go against the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Sarica added that they filed the necessary appeals and that they took the matter to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Sarica said almost 800 appeals by lawyers since 2011 have been rejected and that the law stipulates that family visits should be held periodically.
Lawyer Rezan Sarica said the letters sent to Imrali are stopped by the Imrali administration and the judiciary and added that there is unnamed systemic torture in Imrali.
“VIOLATIONS WERE INCLUDED IN CPT’s REPORTS”
Lawyer Rezan Sarica pointed out the bad living conditions in Imrali and added that the CPT announced the report on their 2016 visit all the way in 2018. Sarica also stated that the report acknowledged violation of the ECHR Article 3. Sarica stressed that the ban against visits as part of the isolation of Ocalan are political and not legal, which has been confirmed by the CPT reports.
TURKEY SHOULD HEED THE ADVICE IN THE REPORTS, CPT SHOULD GO TO IMRALI
Rezan Sarica said the Turkish state should heed the advice listed in the CPT reports and added: “We also demand that the Committee for the Prevention of Torture visit Imrali.”
Sarica said the CPT’s analysis of the Imrali system has been included in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) draft resolutions and added the criticism that the CoE has played a part in the isolation policies of the last 20 years.
Rezan Sarica concluded her speech with stressing that there are over 7.000 political prisoners on hunger strikes, including current MPs Dersim Dag and Tayip Temel and former MPs Sebahat Tuncel and Selma Irmak, and warned that there will be deaths unless steps are taken.