Turkish minister: Ban preventing Öcalan from meeting with lawyers lifted

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Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül

Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül announced on Thursday that a ban preventing the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from meeting with  his lawyers has been lifted.

Lawyers representing Öcalan visited him on May 2 for the first time since 2011.

The lawyers’ visit to İmralı Island Prison in the Marmara Sea came at a time when hundreds of Kurdish prisoners were on a hunger strike to break what they said was the “isolation” imposed on the PKK leader.

“Decisions regarding the visitation ban have been lifted and visits [to Öcalan] have been made possible,” said Gül.

Öcalan was last visited in January of this year by his younger brother, Mehmet, a farmer from Şanlıurfa province. It was the first visit by a family member since September 2016.

The PKK, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984, is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US. Öcalan has been imprisoned since 1999.

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