Jailed PKK leader’s lawyers travel to İmralı as visitation ban is lifted

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Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's lawyers. PHOTO: ANF

Two lawyers representing Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan on Wednesday travelled to İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara to meet with the jailed PKK leader as Turkish authorities recently lifted a visitation ban on him, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Lawyers Rezan Sarıca and Newroz Uysal travelled to the Gemlik district of Bursa in the early hours of Wednesday from where they went to İmralı Island, where Öcalan has been jailed since 1999.

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

On May 16 Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül announced that the ban preventing Öcalan from meeting with his lawyers was lifted.

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

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

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.

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