İmralı Prison report from Asrın Law Bureau

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  • 10:48 16 February 2020
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İSTANBUL- Announcing the 2019 İmralı Prison Violations of Right Report, Asrın Law Burau emphasized that the isolation has deepened because the national and international law institutions did not fulfill their missions, and stated "We invite these institutions to act in line with their responsibilities within the framework of universal human rights and law."

Asrın Law Bureau shared the 2019 Detection Report on İmralı Prison Violations of Rights, Developments and Current Situation with the public. In the 12-page assessment report, it was emphasized that 2019 was a year that the effect of İmralı isolation system on Turkey, especially in the fields of law and politics were more visible. It was pointed out that the practices, which were developed within İmrali isolation and exceeded outtside the limits of the law until 2016, was turned into some kind of law and then became normative practices all over the country.
“Beyond the atmosphere of conflict and tension, especially Mr. Öcalan shared the approaches, solutions and methods regarding the solution to the current situations within the framework of 'Imralı Stance'. The positive or negative reactions that have developed in many different environments against these approaches of Mr. Öcalan have clearly revealed the relationship between Imrali isolation system and war-peace, coup mechanics-democratization and chaos-solution dialects. At this point, Mr. Öcalan stated that the isolation imposed on him especially for the last four years and generally for the last 21 years is related to the wars experienced today and that despite all difficulties, he resisted with a peace line."
In the report it was reminded that the application of the lawyer to visit Öcalan was denied by the Bursa 1st Execution Judge and other than the applications which were accepted after April 22, 2019, no response was giveren to the applications. Report stated that Öcalan could only see and made an interview with his lawyers on May 2 2019, 8 years after July 27, 2019 and continued: "The existence of an island which is closed even for the lawyer inverwiev is the very sign to comprehend the dimension of the isolation system applied in İmralı. And when all kind of communication barriers are added to this tableau such as letter sending etc. the situation got worse and heavier. At this point, the penal system which was built and then used against Öcalan, was stated as an application examplary of torture by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and a decision has been given in order the situation to be changed." 
Report attrackted attention to the fact that lawyers held 5 meetings with Öcalan in 2019 and the following statements are as follows: “After a long time, Mr. Öcalan's contact with the outside world has provided a re-understanding of his solution power and the effect of him he described as the "survival politics" in the face of main wuestions throughout the region. Mr. Öcalan shared very significant opinions and suggestion in these talks, especially with regard to the solution and historical development of the Kurdish question, Turkish-Kurdish relations, developments in Syria and North Syria, hunger strikes, Kurdish identity, history and culture, local democracy, democratic politics, democratic alliance and democratic negotiation approaches, women's slaughter etc."
Report also put forward that so far no lawyer visit could have been made to the other prisoners of İmralı, who are Ömer Hayri Konar, Hamili Yıldırım and Veysi Aktaş, transferred to İmralı Prison in MArch 2015 and the statement regarding this issu continues as follows: "32 applications in 2019 that had been made until the date of April 19, 2019 regarding the lawyer visits have been rejected due to court decisions. In addition to this, no response was given regarding the 66 applications for lawyer visits. The applications for family and custodian interviews has gained a systematic character in 2019 in İmralı Prison due to the application of ban, which was developed in 2018 as an unlawful and arbitrary disciplinary punishment. As a result, 5 lawyers and 3 family interviews were allowed to visit İmralı in 2019, while 98 lawyers, 46 families and custodian applications were not accepted."
The report recorded that there was no possibility or means to reach or communicate from İmralı to the outer world or vice versa after the family's visit to Öcalan on September 11, 2016 and the report explains the violations of communication rights as follows: “The Constitutional Court (AYM) that the bans of telephone rights of Mr. Aktaş and Mr. Konar were against the law back in February 6, 2015. Again, in the application made in the name of Mr. Nasrullah Kuran while he was also in İmralı Prison, a decision affirming that this was a violation of communication rights was given on February 6, 2019. Despite the Constitutional Court's decisions, the telephone ban continues to be implemented. The application about Mr. Öcalan has not been concluded yet. Although Bursa Execution Judge was applied for the prisoners to use their phone rights in line with the AYM decision, the request was rejected despite AYM decisions."
Attitude of CPT
The report  drew attention to the point that the European Council's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has an important role in deepening and overcoming the İmralı isolation system and mentioned the results of CPT's visit on April 28-29, 2016 was announced after  2 years later, on March 20, 2018. Stating that there had been significant changes in the political and judicial structure in Turkey within this time gap the report included the following statement: "At this point what expected from CPT was to detect the unlawfullnessin İmralı via a 'de facto' visit, where is in now way communicatable and whole contact with the outer world was cut, according to the Aggrement of Prevention of Torture. CPT had conducted a visit in İmralı on May 7, 2019. However, no details regarding this meeting was shared with the public. At this point, CPT should announce their report with no further delay regarding the conditions of jural trustworthiness and predictability in Turkey."
It was also stated in the report that 6 cases are continuing at the ECHR.
In the conclusion section of the report, it was emphasized that the passive attitudes of the CPT and the ECHR which contradict their establishment values, contributed to the deepening of the isolation in a significant manner: “In the light of these circumstances we mentioned, it should be understood correctly that it is a holistic law and policy management mechanism, including enforcement arrangements in İmralı which is not limited only to the lawyer and family visits. While the deepening of this system is a deepening of immense legal and political arbitrariness, the overcome of these means the strengthening of democratic solution opportunities. However, this requires a strong struggle for democratic law, which will undoubtedly strengthen the opportunities for democratic solutions. In this respect, as the Asrin Law Bureau, our democratic legal struggle continues against the antidemocratic and unlawful practices in İmralı in particular as well as the isolation and torture system that is applied in İmralı in general. We invite all sensitive groups to contribute to this democratic legal struggle and to act in accordance with their responsibilities within the framework of universal human rights law.
MA Ferhat Çelik