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Press Release

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits prison on the island of Imralı (Turkey)

Strasbourg, 01.02.2010 - A delegation of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) recently completed a two-day visit to Turkey (26 and 27 January 2010).

The delegation visited the F-type High-Security Closed Prison on the island of Imralı, in order to examine the conditions under which Abdullah Öcalan[1] and other inmates of the establishment were held. Particular attention was paid to communal activities offered to the prisoners and the application in practice of the prisoners’ right to receive visits from relatives and lawyers. All the prisoners were interviewed by the delegation.

The visit was carried out following the recent setting-up of a new detention facility on the island and the transfer to that facility of five additional prisoners from other prisons.

In the course of the visit, the delegation met Sait Gürlek, Chief Public Prosecutor of Bursa, and Yahya Özkök, Enforcement Judge responsible for Imralı F-type High-Security Closed Prison.

The visit was carried out by Mauro Palma, President of the CPT (Head of delegation), Marc Nève, lawyer and CPT member in respect of Belgium, Jean-Pierre Restellini, specialist in internal and forensic medicine, CPT member in respect of Switzerland. They were assisted by Timothy Harding, psychiatrist and former Director of the University Institute of Forensic Medicine, Geneva, and Michael Neurauter, Head of Division, of the CPT’s Secretariat.

[1]               This prisoner has been detained on Imralı island since February 1999.

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