Brother of jailed PKK leader visits İmralı Island for Eid meeting
AA photoThe brother of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), paid a visit to Imralı Island Prison in the Marmara Sea on Sept. 11, one day after the jailed PKK leader was granted a family visit during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday on the island where he is serving an aggravated life term.
Abdullah Öcalan’s brother, Mehmet Öcalan, and lawyer, Mazlum Dinç, arrived at the Gemlik Gendarmerie command post in the Marmara province of Bursa to depart for the high security F-type prison on the island off Istanbul at 8:30 a.m.
Before the departure, Öcalan said it was his legal right to visit his brother, noting that the jailed PKK leader had not been granted a family visit for two years.
Öcalan and Dinç later headed to the island following control and security proceedings at the command post.
It was the first visit to the island by Öcalan since Oct. 6, 2014, when he again had met with his brother for Eid al-Adha.
On Sept. 10, the government granted permission for a family visit to the island.
In April, a three-member delegation from the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) had also paid a visit to the island to examine the treatment and conditions there.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 5, a group of 50 people began a hunger strike in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, demanding a visit to Öcalan by his lawyers, family members or a political delegation amid concerns over his welfare.
However, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced there were no problems concerning the jailed PKK leader’s health and that security had been increased at İmralı Island Prison.
“They spread the wrong information regarding Öcalan’s health and safety in order to mobilize people to use it for their own purposes,” Bozdağ said.
Öcalan was jailed in 1999 for forming an armed organization after a death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.