The worrying developments in Turkey’s prisons are best portrayed by a recent United Nations report which calls on Turkey to live up to its “zero tolerance on torture” policy. In this context, the İmralı Island prison deserves a special attention.
From 1999 to 2009, Abdullah Öcalan was the only prisoner of the İmralı Island prison off the coast of the Marmara Sea in Turkey. There are now three other inmates at this island prison. According to the lawyers of the four inmates, there has been no lawyer-client consultation since 2011.
Since September 2016, the inmates have not had any contact with their family – or anyone else.
They cannot be reached through telephone, letters and/or any other way. The prisoners have no means of reaching a court or the outside world.
The isolation conditions in the İmralı Island prison have been criticised by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) in numerous reports; despite this being the case, the situation has worsened.
Under emergency decrees, similar methods of treatment threaten prisoners’ defence rights (restrictions on reaching their lawyers and family) and human dignity (such as the introduction of jumpsuits when going to court) also in numerous other prisons.
All member States of the Council of Europe should abide by the rulings of the CPT and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly should look into the allegations of isolation torture of prisoners in Turkey and the deprivation of their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.