Kurds protest death threat to imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan

July 11, 2023
Kurds and their supporters protesting in Paris against Abdullah Öcalan's ongoing isolation, on July 8. Photo: anfenglishmobile.com

Kurds and their supporters in France, Germany and Switzerland protested on July 8 over new death threats against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned by the Turkish state for the past 24 years.

The latest death threats came in the form of anonymous letters delivered through the tight security system in the Imrali Island prison, where Öcalan is being held in isolation.

In a July 8 interview on Sterk TV, Sabri Ok, a member of the executive of the Kurdish Democratic Communities Union (KCK) revealed that, while letters from Öcalan's lawyers and family were routinely blocked and he has been deprived of all contact with them for the past 28 months, the anonymous threatening letter was allowed through by the prison authorities. It read: “We will administer a poison that will lead to your demise. Even the insects that feed on your corpse will be poisoned and perish.”

Ok said that such threatening letters “play with Öcalan’s psychology, his mental health, his physical health”.

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) — which unites Kurds living in exile — has called on the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United Nations to organise an urgent ad hoc mission to visit Öcalan.

The last contact Öcalan had was a short phone call with his brother on March 25, 2021.

“Although the lawyers have continuously applied to the relevant authorities in Turkey as well as to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in order to be allowed to see their client, they have not received any replies,” the KNK said.

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