International Initiative expresses concern over Ocalan’s wellbeing

PRESS STATEMENT

8 January 2016

Concerns about Abdullah Öcalan’s life: What is happening in Imrali Island Prison?

While Öcalan’s and Imrali Island’s total isolation continues since April 2015, now two inmates have been removed from the island and isolated elsewhere. This gives rise to the question: What is happening in Imrali? Is Öcalan’s life in danger?

The Imrali island prison is the Guantanamo of Europe. Over the 17 years of Öcalan’s imprisonment it has had an arbitrary and continuous aggravated isolation regime in place[1]. Bringing in a few other prisoners in 2009 has not removed this regime–on the contrary: the number of persons subjected to an aggravated isolation regime has increased. This regime has only relaxed slightly while a political process was in place; when there is no process the isolation regime turns into total isolation with no news from prisoners, no lawyer-client consultations, family visits, letters or telephone calls for any prisoner in Imrali (Öcalan is denied the right to phone anyway). Continue reading

Statements call for Ocalan’s release on the anniversary of his expulsion from Syria

CENI WOMEN’S OFFICE FOR PEACE

The Syrian war started with the expulsion of Abdullah Öcalan

His freedom is our freedom

 

On 9 October 1998 Abdullah Öcalan was expelled from Syria, due to pressure from the Turkish government. As a result of an international plot he was later kidnapped and since 1999 has been in a Turkish prison, held under the most severe conditions of solitary confinement. Nevertheless in 2007 the Turkish state started negotiations with him as the representative of the Kurdish freedom movement. However, since 5 April this year he has been cut out of the negotiating delegation and has been kept completely isolated. This treatment of a significant political prisoner holds an entire society hostage and has a detrimental influence on peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Peace negotiations with the participation of Abdullah Öcalan, as well as his freedom, are directly linked to the freedom of the people in the Middle East. Continue reading

Hunger Strike for the Freedom of Öcalan

We received this statement yesterday from the Freedom for Ocalan Committee, which has initiated a 5 day hunger strike for Abdullah Ocalan and to call once again for his release from prison in Imrali island. The campaign for freedom for the recognised leader of the Kurdish movement continues.

Hunger Strike for the Freedom of Öcalan

Ocalan flagWe, the members of Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan Committee and representatives of Kurdish institutions in Europe have started a five-day hunger strike (28 September -2 October 2015) to demand the freedom for Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The hunger strike action is a symbolic appeal as part of the “Freedom for Öcalan” campaign, and calls on the Kurdish people living in Europe, their political friends, allies from Turkey and all those waging a common struggle against fascism under the democracy and freedom bloc to stand by the participants of the action for Öcalan’s freedom.
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International Initiative reps speaks at award ceremony for Ocalan in Scotland

Reimar Heider text of speech (short version)
International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan – Peace in Kurdistan”
Glasgow, 20 June 2015

As much as I am happy to be here, I am very sorry to be here. I am sorry to be here, because the reason that I am here is that the person who has been granted Honorary Life Membership in the University of Strathclyde Student’s Association, Abdullah Öcalan, cannot come and thank you all in person. He has been held under strict isolation on a Turkish prison Island  for more than 16 years now.
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10.3 Million Signatures for Peace and Freedom for Öcalan

Free ocalan muralToday, thousands of people have gathered in Strasbourg for the culmination of a huge international campaign calling for the release of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK, on the 16th anniversary of his abduction. An incredible 10.3 million people from across the world signed a petition demanding freedom for Ocalan. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has proudly supported the campaign from the beginning and sent a solidarity statement to the organisers of today’s press conference, as did Margaret Owen on behalf of all our patrons, who were among the first signatories to the campaign. 

The International Initiative, which organised the campaign, today released this statement:

Statement of the International Initiative, 13 February 2015

In March 1999, when the International Initiative “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan—Peace in Kurdistan” was founded, it was unthinkable. Unthinkable, that Abdullah Öcalan would ever – get out alive. After his forceful abduction from Kenya with the help of Western intelligence services, a seemingly big victory of the Turkish state, the question seemed to be whether Abdullah Öcalan was executed without a trial or after a trial. To even think of “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan” amounted to lunacy. Nevertheless, an impressive number of intellectuals, artists, politicians and activists read the signs of the times differently. Even back then, 16 years ago, they knew that for a sustainable solution of the so-called Kurdish question Öcalan had to be free and a peaceful solution had to be negotiated. This group founded the International Initiative. Continue reading

Solidarity message to press conference on 13 February 2015

 

I Margaret Owen, on behalf of the UK based PATRONS OF PEACE IN KURDISTAN, who are among the “first” signatories of the petition to secure the release Abdullah Ocalan from his 16 year incarceration on the Isle of Imrali by Turkey, greet you.

We send our most fervent wishes to the organisers of the March to Strasbourg and to all those gathering in Strasbourg on February 13th to demand that Ocalan is freed. The long imprisonment of the Kurdish leader is one of the greatest injustices in history, not just for the Kurdish people, but for all peoples of the world who salute Ocalan for his breadth of vision in defending the universal values of democracy, pluralism, gender equality, and freedom.

London, 7 February 2015

Margaret Owen on behalf of Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall

 

KNK: Release all critically ill prisoners in Turkey


The KNK has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Erdogan and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ calling for the release of hundreds of critically ill prisoners who are languishing in Turkish jails without proper medical attention. As the letter explains, despite recent changes to the law that would allow for seriously ill prisoners to be released, any prisoner charged under the anti-terror law who is suffering health problems has no chance of release under the current rules.

We know of at least 544 prisoners in Turkey are seriously ill who deserve to be released. We also know that 2300 people have died in Turkish prisons in the last 13 years.

The appeal has been signed by over 12o prominent public figures from across the world, including Selahattin Demirtaş, Co-chair of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP); writer and former political prisoner Ragip Zarakolu; Professor Noam Chomsky; several Members of the British, Irish and European Parliaments; and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, to name a few. The appeal was also published in Turkish daily Radikal.

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All lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (CHD) released

News about the releases brought to you by Anadolu News Blog:

 

LAWYERS OF CHD (ASSOCIATION OF PROGRESSIVE JURISTS) AND PEOPLE’S LAW BUREAU (HHB) ARE FREE!

Anadolu Newsblog

Exactly 14 months ago the Turkish state under the AKP government launched an attack against 22 progressive lawyers of CHD and HHB. 9 lawyers, among them the president of CHD Selcuk Kozagacli, were arrested, their other colleagues were charged out of prison.

The state doesn’t have anything against them, except of their professional work. This was proven at the first trial in December, where not the court judged the lawyers, but in contrary.

Like in roulette 4 lawyers were selected and set free during the first court session, while the other 5 remained in prison.

40 democratic lawyers from Europe and thousands of lawyers in Turkey supported their charged colleagues until the end. The matchless solidarity among professionals, but also the unbending and revolutionary attitude of the lawyers have apparently forced the state to release the lawyers as abrupt as they were arrested.

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ECtHR rejects Ocalan’s case against Turkey

The International Initiative has released a statement regarding the European Court of Human Rights’ recent judgement on Ocalan vs. Turkey case. Read it here:

 

Öcalan vs. Turkey decision: A bad day for human rights in Europe

Statement of International Initiative on the ECtHR decision in Öcalan vs. Turkey (No. 2)

 

The European Court of Human Rights today published its chamber decision in a set of applications by Abdullah Öcalan against Turkey.

The complaints referred, among others, to the isolation conditions on Imrali Island, the aggravated life sentence with no possibility of parole, the overhearing of all consultations with his lawyers and then threat to his life posed by the poisonous substances found in his hair. In the view of Öcalan and his lawyers, these and other violations constitute violations of articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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‘Some Perspectives on Genocide’

 By Desmond Fernandes.[i]

 

Presented at the ‘Holocaust Commemoration and Genocide Awareness’ meeting, the House of Commons, Committee Room 16, Westminster, 4th February 2014. Organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and hosted by Mr Virendra Sharma, MP.

Desmond Fernandes, in his presentation, highlighted some of the key perspectives of Raphael Lemkin (who coined the neologism genocide), Khatchatur Pilikian, Gregory Stanton and John Docker on genocide. Pilikian, on the occasion of Hrant Dink Day on 19th January 2010, had observed that:

Our turbulent times … will soon teach us new lessons, granted we are willing to learn and act upon it. As the Preamble of the Verdict of the prestigious Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal of April 16th 1984 concludes: ‘Indeed, acknowledging genocide itself is a fundamental means of struggling against genocide. The acknowledgement is itself an affirmation of the right of a people under international law to a safeguarded existence’.

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