International Initiative
Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan
P.O. Box 100511, D-50445 Koeln
Telephone: +49 221 130 15 59
Fax: +49 221 790 76 10 30

Istanbul, 27 November 2009

2. Press statement of Abdullah Ocalan's legal team:
Öcalan's new cell is a 'death pit'

To the public and media

Abdullah Öcalan has been kept at the Imrali Sole Inmate High Security Closed Prison for more then 10 years under severe isolation conditions. However recently because of the CPT recommendations and reports a new prison has been built on the Imrali Island. As a result our client has been transferred over to this newly built prison on the 17th of November 2009. This new prison is officially being called the “İmralı F-Type High Security Closed Prison”. The isolation, however, has also reached a new and a much more severe dimension with this new prison. We, his lawyers, met out client two times after he was transferred to this prison. During these two consultations we have observed that this new enforcement regime has seriously aggravated Mr Öcalan's conditions.

The new cell is approximately 6-7 meters squared single story cell with enclosed shower and toilet. The window has been woven with wires on the inside and been placed up so high that only the sky can be seen. Such an arrangement of the window does not circulate the air well. The bed has been placed adjacent to the wall leaving only around 2-3 steps within which movement is possible. As a result the cell has insufficient air and is compressive leading to the aggravation of our client's health. He is taken to the airing yard which is also adjacent to the cell an hour per day. This yard has also been encircled with high walls and the topped with a grill where he effectively only sees the sky making him feel that it is a pit instead of an airing yard. The yard itself is also considerably smaller then the previous one.

Our client describes these new conditions as a 'death pit'. The respiratory problems of our client began due to the conditions at the Prison of the Imrali Island and became chronic in time has now reached an unbearable stage with these new conditions. He has informed us that he has difficulties in breathing due to this stuffy and compressive conditions of the new cell. The breathing becomes especially worse during the night and he needs to often wake up and stand up to breath better. He added that the compressiveness of the stuffiness in the cell is suffocative. He has more pain then before and all this has led to severe muscle contractions. He describes his conditions as being executed each day over and over again. The insufficiency of air negatively affects all his bodily functions.

It can be concluded from the statements of our client that the new situation is beyond a juridical evaluation. It has indeed exceeded the borders of social and human endurance. A cell of 6 meters squared is not even accepted for people who are kept for interrogation purposes for a couple of days by both the UN and the CPT standards let alone being accepted as a prison cell to house a prisoner for many long years. This new arrangement which is being presented to be an 'improvement' has turned out to be conditions of life-threatening nature for our client. In the mean time isolation continues with all its severity; he has had another new 20 day cellular confinement penalty and has not yet met the new inmates that have been transferred to the Island Prison.

The severe isolation regime implemented against our client since February 1999 has gained a new dimension with this brand new 'maximum security' prison that he has been transferred to since the 17th of November 2009. Under the new conditions the fundamental rights of our client including right to life that is embedded in national and international law are being denied. State officials are doing nothing but continuing with their deliberate policies of solitary confinement and destruction which have been harshly criticized by the CPT by this time reducing the physical size of his cell considerably. The presentation of these new arrangement as an 'improvement' is so as to quell the reactions of the Kurds and those in favour of human rights and democratic circles as well as CPT and the ECHR.

The new implementations that began on the 17th of November 2009 shall negatively influence the discussions on the democratic resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey. We invite everyone to take a stance against these new measures and conditions that violate Mr Öcalan's fundamental rights.

Asrin Law Office

Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi
Şeh Bender Sokak N:18 D:3
Tel: 0090-212-292 95 50 – 51