Jailed PKK leader Öcalan to stay on İmralı island
Deniz Zeyrek ANKARAAbdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was moved in 2009 to a 12-square-meter solitary cell with a small yard, like F-type prisons in the rest of Turkey, on İmralı Island, after being caught in 1999.
Öcalan’s living conditions came into question after the peace process started. Five neighbors were brought to the island and a TV with 12 channels was placed in Öcalan’s room, in line with the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reports.
The first space where Öcalan was kept in 1999 was reconstructed over five months in 2013. A delegation made up of Kurdish politicians visiting the island irregularly had investigated the construction site.
Öcalan moved into the reconstructed space, which constitutes a bedroom and working room, a separate bathroom and a small garden, in August 2013. The closed area of the new venue is more than 20 square meters.
However, this new space may not be the location where Öcalan continues to serve his life sentence. In line with the peace process’ roadmap, the PKK leader may switch to a bigger space, still on the İmralı Island, although this is contingent on the PKK leaving Turkey by February 2015 and Öcalan declaring “absolute inaction.”