Lawyers respond to Ban on visits with Ocalan Lifted

Lawyers respond to Ban on visits with Ocalan Lifted

On 16 May 2019, the Minister of Justice of Turkey Abdulhamit Gül made a statement declaring that the ban on lawyers being allowed to visit with their client Mr. Abdullah Öcalan has been lifted.

This statement comes after lawyers from Asrın Law Office, who represent Mr. Öcalan and the other inmates of İmralı Prison, went to İmralı Island to meet with Mr. Öcalan on 2 May 2019, which they announced in a press conference on 6 May 2019. This consultation was the first such meeting in 8 years. The full text of the statement of the lawyers of Asrın, as well as the statement provided by Mr. Öcalan and the other inmates of İmralı can be read here.

Following the declaration of the Turkish Justice Minister regarding the lifting of the ban on lawyer-client consultations with Mr. Öcalan, the lawyers of Asrın have released an official response to this statement.

The full text of this response is as follows:

The Minister of Justice has announced to the public the Bursa Assize Court’s decision to lift the ban on consultations with our client Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, and that it is possible to meet with him.

In our press release on 6 May, we shared that we had a lawyer-client consultation with Mr. Öcalan on 2 May. In this statement, we have also stated that the prohibition on lawyer-client consultations was lifted by the Bursa Assize Court upon our objections. However, despite the applications made each day after the meeting we held on May 2, 2019, a new consultation has not yet been achieved. Applications for visitation by Mr. Öcalan’s family continue to be blocked by a court decision citing a new disciplinary penalty issued on April 22, 2019.

As stated in the statement of the Ministry of Justice, since the prohibition verdict, which is already against the law, has been lifted, it is necessary to state that lawyer-client consultations should be conducted periodically. It is a legal obligation that Mr. Öcalan establishes his full legal rights, including consultation with his lawyers and visits by his family, to receive letters, telephone calls and his right to other means of communication.

In this respect, we consider this statement of the Ministry of Justice, which is one of the most authoritative institutions in terms of justice/jurisdiction, as an expression of what needs to be done legally and invite all judicial and administrative institutions to act in accordance with the law.


In addition, it was shared by the Minister that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has also visited the island of İmralı for the first time since April 2016. We expect the CPT to announce its report containing its suggestions and determinations as soon as possible and we would like to express our expectation that they follow up the developments.

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