Lawyers of jailed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan on March 15 released a statement after rumors suggesting his death circulated on social media.
The Asrın Law Office said in a written statement that they were worried about Öcalan's health and demanded contact with him for the “concerns to be cleared.”
The lawyers noted that the last time they were allowed to visit Öcalan on the İmralı Island was in August 2019.
“Our clients' last contact with the outside world was on April 27, 2020 with a phone call right which was granted to them for the first time due to the pandemic,” the statement said.
“We do not know about the sources of these allegations [of Öcalan's death] which are brought forward from time to time, but what is important is that these allegations are mentioned periodically about Öcalan. Without a doubt, the biggest reason of this situation is the heavy isolation imposed on İmralı and the fact that our information and monitoring opportunities are disconnected,” the statement said.
Öcalan's brother Mehmet Öcalan also commented on the rumors saying that he was concerned about them and authorities have not yet informed him about the PKK leader's health. He said the last time he was allowed to see his brother on the İmralı Island was on March 3, 2020, which took place upon concerns of fire on the island.
“We are worried. The state is responsible for this. They [officials] need to inform us. They have not yet said anything to us. They have banned everything. We need to be informed. He is somewhere in the middle of the sea and we cannot hear from him. We are constantly filing an application through our lawyers [to contact him] but do not receive an answer,” Mehmet Öcalan said.
After an eight-year ban on lawyer-client meeting, Öcalan was allowed to meet his lawyers on May 2, 2019 following hunger strikes and death fasts.
Another four meetings were held on May 22, June 12, June 18 and Aug. 7 of the same year, but his lawyers haven't been receiving any responses to their applications ever since.