International Initiative
Freedom for Ocalan - Peace in Kurdistan
P.O. Box 100511, D-50445 Koeln

Cologne, 16 July 2004

Urgent Appeal

Since June 9 2004 Abdullah Öcalan has not been allowed to receive visits from his lawyers and family. Officially it is claimed that the boat, which is used for the journey to the prison island, Imrali, has broken down and must be repaired. The fact that there are many alternative ways of travelling makes the reason given not very convincing, and this has caused serious worries.
Since his illegal abduction to Turkey on February 15 1999 the leader of the Kurdish people has been held prisoner in isolation under the most dehumanising circumstances. He is the only prisoner in the fortified building. The prison island has been declared a military zone, which means that it falls under the jurisdiction of the crisis management staff, which is only answerable to the Turkish prime minister. Time and again visits by lawyers and family members are prevent for differing reasons, and the right to communication with the outside world is denied. The six years of isolation detention have seriously affected the health of the Kurdish leader. Turkey has refused to allow a visit by an independent medical commission.
The measures taken against Öcalan are in breach of international law. They are not in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. The demand made by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) of the European Council, to abandon the isolation measures taken against Öcalan has been ignored by the Turkish government. On the contrary, the restrictions were tightened even further. The aim of the deprivation of the senses used against Öcalan is to destroy him mentally and physically. This amounts to an execution in instalments. As a candidate member of the European Union, Turkey has a duty to uphold the Copenhagen criteria, including among others upholding compulsory human rights standards. The European institutions responsible for the expansion of the EU view this situation in silence. The Turkish institutions involved see this silence as approval of their current course of action.

Despite all these problems Abdullah Öcalan is continuing to strife for a democratic solution of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict and the democratisation of the Middle East region as a whole. He had and still has a big role in the search for a peaceful solution. The use of isolation detention against him shows that the Turkish government's aim is to find a solution to the problem while shutting out the Kurdish side. In this way they want to establish a solution, which only serves the interests of the Turkish state. The law reforms, which were brought in under pressure from the EU, appear to be of only cosmetic nature.

Because of this:

· International ad hoc delegation to Imrali
· Immediately lift the isolation detention of Abdullah Öcalan!