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Lawyers met Abdullah Ocalan in Imrali

After 8 years of visit requests rejected, lawyers were finally granted permission to see Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan


The visit came when over 7000 prisoners and activists are on hunger strike demanding the end of isolation against Ocalan.

The hunger strike resistance was launched by HDP Hakkari MP Leyla Guven on her 181st day of fast and was joined by thousands in prison and activists around the world.

Prisoners have said that although the visit is an important achievement they don’t consider it the end of isolation and therefore they will continue their hunger strike.

Asrin Law Office lawyers held a press conference today on the meeting Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan held with his lawyers on May 2. Lawyers Faik Ozgur Erol, Newroz Uysal and Rezan Sarica were present in the conference.

Faik Ozgur Erol said:

“Esteemed journalists, the press statement we are about to release today is on the lawyers’ visit to the Imrali Island to meet with Mr. Abdullah Ocalan on May 2. Four lawyers appealed to visit the client, but only two of the lawyers were approved and those two lawyers were the ones to hold the meeting.

The two lawyers who held the meeting were Newroz Uysal and Rezan Sarica. They will read two texts to you, one of them is the Asrin Law Office declaration on the meeting and the other is a public announcement and a call by Mr. Ocalan and 3 other clients of ours who are also held in the Imrali island prison.

It took until the weekend for this text to reach us, so the announcement had to be postponed until today. 

With that said, it is significant to share these announcements on May 6, an important day for the struggle for democracy in Turkey. Now I leave the microphone to my colleagues.”

The statement read by Ocalan’s lawyer Rezan Sarica is as follows:

“We held a meeting with our client Abdullah Ocalan who is held in the Imrali Type F High Security Prison on May 2, 2019. This was the first lawyers’ visit since July 27, 2011, with 810 appeals from then until now. Bursa Heavy Penal Court had issued a ruling on one of our appeals some two weeks ago and announced that the ban against lawyers’ visits was lifted for all our clients in Imrali.

Our appeal to visit also included our other clients. Mr. Veysi Aktas, Mr. Hamilli Yildirim and Mr. Omer Hayri Konar, but they were not permitted. The appeal to visit was made with 4 lawyers as in the past, but only 2 lawyers were allowed.

APPEAL FOR FAMILY VISIT REJECTED

The exchange of notes or documents were not allowed during the visit. An appeal for a family visit was filed after this meeting for May 6, but it was rejected despite there being no legal obstacle.

Mr. Ocalan was not allowed to meet with his lawyers for almost 8 years, and the other 3 clients in Imrali still haven’t. Some lawyers’ appeals were rejected. That creates doubt that the right to family and lawyer visits will be continued or legally safeguarded. Neither we nor our client have any information that would suggest lawyers’ visits will periodically continue.

ONE HOUR MEETING

During the visit, Mr. Ocalan informed us that the daily newspapers and journals submitted to the administration to be given to him are not delivered and letters and other correspondence with his lawyers has been barred, confirming a restriction of the right to communication. Mr. Abdullah Ocalan has insistently kept his peaceful position despite the absolute isolation and all the lack of resources. We urge authorities to do their duty and reinstate his legal rights at once, and we call on the public for awareness.

The meeting on May 2, 2019 was approximately 1 hour long. Mr. Ocalan requested a document signed by our 3 other clients and himself to be given to us, and the document in question reached us this weekend.”

Full text of the statement with the signature of Abdullah Öcalan and three other prisoners on Imralı, read by lawyer Newroz Uysal,  is as follows:

TO THE PUBLIC

There is a need for a deep social reconciliation in this historic process we are experiencing.

There is an urgent need for a method of democratic negotiations, away from all kinds of polarization and culture of conflict in the solution of problems.

We can solve the problems in Turkey, and even in the region — first and foremost the war — with soft power; that is with intelligence, political and cultural power instead of tools of physical violence.

We believe that within the scope of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the culture of conflict should be avoided in relation to the problems in Syria; they should aim to convey their own position and situation to a solution based on a local democracy perspective that has constitutional guarantee  within the framework of Syria’s unity. In this context, there should also be awareness of Turkey’s sensibilities.

While we respect the resistance of friends inside and outside of prisons, we would like to emphasize that they should not take it to the level where they will endanger their health or result in death. For us, their mental, physical and spiritual health is paramount. We also believe that the most meaningful approach is related to the development of mental and spiritual stance.

Our stance in Imrali has the determination to continue what we expressed in the 2013 Newroz Declaration by further deepening and clarifying it.

For us, a dignified peace and democratic political solution are essential.

We pay tribute to all those who have been concerned and took a stand in response to our stance in İmralı, and we would like to convey our immense gratitude.

A. ÖCALAN     H. YILDIRIM    Ö. H. KONAR    V. AKTAŞ

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