Start Europe First legal visit for eight years

First legal visit for eight years

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In almost complete isolation Kurdish leader Öcalan is serving a life sentence. The Turkish government prohibited any contact with the outside world. After eight years his defenders were allowed to visit him.

The imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has been visited again by his lawyers after eight years. Two lawyers had met Öcalan in Imrali prison on 2 May, lawyers in Istanbul said. Four defenders had requested permission, only two of them had been allowed to visit. The conversation took about an hour, his lawyer Rezan Sarica said.

Two decades in isolation

The founder of the Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK) has been serving a life sentence for almost 20 years in almost total isolation on Imrali Prison near Istanbul. Öcalan was arrested in 1999 and sentenced to death for treason. In 2002, his sentence was turned into life imprisonment.

Öcalan was one of the co-founders of the PKK in 1978. At that time, the party wanted to gain autonomy for the Kurds in Turkey. In 1984, she began the armed struggle for an independent Kurdish state. As a result, more than 40,000 people were killed. The Turkish government and its western allies consider the PKK as a terrorist organization.

300 inmates protested for Öcalan

Following the attempted military coup in July 2016 in Turkey, the government banned all visits to Ocalan on Imrali. Only after the deputy Leyla Güven of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Party of Peoples (HDP) and more than 300 other prisoners went on hunger strike in protest against Öcalan’s isolation, his brother Mehmet was allowed to visit him in mid-January.