Judge Essa Mossa: Solidarity With the International Call for the Freedom of Ocalan


By Judge Essa Moosa, chairperson of the International Peace and Reconciliation Intitiative (IPRI):

IPRI unconditionally supports the international call for Freedom of Abdullah Ocalan initiated by the international trade union movement Unite and GMB which are based in London.

IPRI has consistently called for peace in Turkey between the conflict of the Turkish state and the Kurdish people of Turkey Which has been raging for more than 40 years and there is no end in sight.

IPRI recently led an international delegation of peace activists, academics, lawyers and politicians (the Imrali Peace Delegation) to Turkey to call upon the conflicting partie resume the peace process which was initiated by Abdullah
Ocalan from prison like Nelson Mandela had done in initiating the peace process in south africa from prison.

Unfortunately, we could not get an audience with the Turkish Minister of Justice and Abdullah Ocalan to discuss with them the resumption of the peace process.

However, during our visit to Turkey, we consulted with a wide range of human right activists, politicians, academics, lawyers and peace activists. They expressed grave concerns about the fact that Abdullah Ocalan has not been given permission to consult his lawyers for more than 4 years and to have access to members of his family for almost two years.

Following such consultations, the Imrali Peace Delegation went to Strasbourg to discuss with the Council of Europe of which Turkey is a member, the question of the resumption of the peace process and with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture a revisit to Imrali prison to conduct an Investigation on the question of the violation of the rights of Abdullah Ocalan concerning access to his lawyers and to family members. IPRI is still awaiting for a response from them.

The denial of the fundamental rights of a political prisoner in terms of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the recommendations of the CPT in its reports folowing a visit to imrali prison, have been flouted by the Turkish government with impunity.

With the recent political development in Turkey which resulted in the declaration of a State of Emergency and the assumption of state powers by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following a failed coup, the situation of Abdullah Ocalan has become extremely critical and requires immediate intervention by the Council of Europe and the CPT.

IPRI regards the imprisonment of Abdullah Ocalan by the Turkish government as unlawful in terms of international Law on the basis that he was unlawfully kidnapped and handed over to the turkish military authorities. The legal process in Turkey that followed such kidnapping and which led to his conviction and sentence, is likewise unlawful.

The European Court of Human Rights to which Abdullah Ocalan had appealed in its judgment found that the trial to which he was subjected to in turkey was unfair on a number of legal grounds and ordered a new trial. The Turkish Authorities failed to conduct such retrial in accordance with tenets of international law.

We therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release of Abdullah Ocalan from the unlawful imprisonment in Turkey and we likewise call upon the international community to support the call of Unite and GMB for Abdullah Ocalan to be “freed and allowed to play a full role in the development of a new peace process…………he has called consistently for a democratic resolution within Turkey to secure a peaceful and lasting solution.”

The statement is issued by Judge Essa Moosa, chairperson of the International Peace and Reconciliation Intitiative (IPRI) at Cape Town on this 12th day of August 2016.

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