Jan 12 2019

Imprisoned PKK leader Öcalan meets with brother for first time since 2016

Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) serving a life term and being kept in solitary confinement on the İmralı Prison island in northwestern Turkey, on Saturday met with his brother Mehmet Öcalan, pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency reported.

The meeting was not regarding Öcalan’s solitary confinement, but a visit on his general health, pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Öcalan told the agency.

“Mr. Abdullah Öcalan met his brother Mehmet Öcalan today. I would like to inform you that he is in good health and we will be giving more detailed information within the next few days,’’ HDP co-chairperson Pervin Buldan said.

The 70-year-old PKK leader last met with his brother on Sept. 11 2016, before which a group of HDP deputies went on a hunger strike in protest of the PKK leader’s isolation. The group ended their strike following the pair's meeting.

Öcalan has been held at Imrali island prison in Turkey since 1999, on charges of treason for leading the armed group which has been fighting Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey for over 30 years.

The PKK leader has spent most of his 19 years in solitary confinement on the island, where for a number of years he has been denied access to his family, legal counsel or independent medical advice, according to his lawyers.

Last month, 10 deputies from the HDP began a hunger strike in support of HDP deputy Leyla Güven, who is on the 66th day of a hunger strike to protest the solitary confinement of Öcalan.