Keskin: The isolation has spread outside of Imrali

IHD Co-chair Eren Keskin pointed out that there has been a sytsemic isolation in place in Imrali for the last 19 years and stated that the isolation has spread outside of Imrali.

The strict isolation imposed upon Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan continues. Öcalan last met with his family in September 2016, and hasn’t been heard from since. The Human Rights Association (IHD) Co-chair Lawyer Eren Keskin spoke to the ANF about the isolation imposed upon Öcalan and HDP Hakkari MP and DTK Co-chair Leyla Guven’s hunger strike that has reached day 24.

Keskin said she was one of the 12 people who took on the role of Kurdish People’s Leader Öcalan’s lawyer when he was first handed over to the Turkish state in the international conspiracy: “Since day one, there has been systemic isolation in the Imrali Prison. This ever-deepening isolation has no place in the law. During the peace talks, the isolation had been somewhat softened, but now it has spread even outside the Imrali Prison.”

Keskin stressed that Turkey has trampled all law with the isolation they have imposed upon Öcalan and added: “Turkey wants to legitimize torture. Mr. Öcalan hasn’t been allowed to meet with his family or lawyers for a long time. This is another method of the special war. These acts are also against human rights law. We as human rights defenders will never accept this torture.”

Keskin protested the ECHR’s (European Court of Human Rights) rejection of the appeal regarding the torture of Kurdish People’s Leader Öcalan: “The law doesn’t look at who the person is when issuing a verdict. What is important is whether there are any rights violations. Unfortunately, like Turkey, European countries are also making political decisions. The ECHR’s verdict isn’t about the law, but politics. The ECHR has displayed an image that sides with states for a long time now. The verdict against Öcalan is also political. Isolation is a method of torture in itself. The ECHR could have only considered the isolation and not issue a rejection.”

Keskin spoke about the hunger strike DTK Co-chair and Hakkari MP Leyla Guven went on in protest of the isolation 24 days ago: “As the IHD we are against unlimited, non-alternating hunger strikes but there are many times when prisoners take to such a route to achieve their goals. Guven’s demands are legal. As human rights defenders we will support Leyla Guven to the end. Democratic organizations should also speak up for Guven’s protest and take action. We have lost many people in the past, we don’t want to lose Leyla Guven as well.”

Keskin spoke about Leyla Guven’s health: “Leyla Guven is a 55 year old woman, and she has health conditions. Before the hunger strike, she took medicine twice a week. After she started the hunger strike, she stopped taking her medicine. For us the most important thing is Guven’s health and safety before all.”

Keskin said Guven gave a message when they visited her and asked her about why she started such a protest: “Guven said, ‘There is a strict isolation imposed upon Öcalan. I started this hunger strike to end the isolation. There have been visits before, they can be more, and a solution could be found through dialogue.

This way, war and conflict could be stopped. I don’t want anything for myself. I started the hunger strike to end the isolation in Imrali and other prisons. I hope nobody will visit me to make me end my protest. I will continue my hunger strike until my protest achieves its goal.”


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