Dinç: Ban on contact with Imralı still in effect

The Turkish government has lifted the contact ban for Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan. His lawyers continue to see the ban in effect as only one visit has been approved since the decision made in April.

The Turkish government has lifted the contact ban for PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan who is imprisoned in Imralı Island Prison together with three other political prisoners.

Turkish Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül announced this on Thursday following talks with members of the European Council’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). In September 2018, Bursa Prosecutor’s Office ordered a six-month ban on the lawyers of Abdullah Öcalan and Imrali prisoners Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysi Aktaş.

The decision of 6 September 2018 was justified by eleven punishments imposed on Öcalan from 2005 to 2009 and a 156-page letter from Öcalan in 2009. The prosecution also formulated another reason for the prohibition: The contents of previous lawyer talks with the “prisoners convicted of membership of a terrorist organization” had been passed on to the press. In public, this gave the impression that Öcalan was leading his organization through orders that had been passed on in attorney talks. In this respect, the lawyers were claimed to have acted as a mediator of internal communication.

As the Turkish Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül now announced, the ban on visits had been lifted. Mazlum Dinç, one of Öcalan’s lawyers and his legal representative, still sees the ban in effect as only one visit to Imrali has been approved since the repeal on 17 April. After attending the visit on Imralı on May 2, the attorney team filed further requests for visits to Imrali. Applications from family members of Öcalan and the three inmates were also made. But so far none of these applications has been approved, Dinç told our agency.

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