December 25th, 2007

The 6th Symposium of the International Platform Against Isolation took place in the Belgian capital Brussels between December 14 and 17.

The sixth symposium of the International Platform against Isolation took place at the ULB (Free University of Brussels) between December 14 and 17, 2007, and delegates from the following countries were present: Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Chile, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Britain, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

To show solidarity with the Platform, every year hunger strikes take place between the dates of December 19-22, and revolutionary prisoners in various countries took part this year. Besides DHKP-C Trial prisoners in Turkey, there was similar concrete solidarity in international form from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Basque Country and Spain.

This year the Symposium’s basic slogan was “the terrorism of the `war on terrorism’” and it looked at the harm to democratic rights and freedoms caused by black lists and anti-terror laws. The effects of anti-terror legislation on trade unions, national and people’s liberation movements were highlighted.

The Symposium consisted of six panels, a cultural evening and a press conference. Over 50 delegates from 18 countries took part in the panels. There was an audience of about 100 at each panel, and a cultural evening for Free Prisoners attracted about 200 people.

In addition to the Symposium, 23 Italian parliamentary senators and deputies supported an initiative backing the demands won by the resistance to isolation in Turkey’s F-Type prisons and calling for the circular 46/1 issued by the Justice Ministry accepting the demands to be implemented in full.

In addition to the use of the French, English and Turkish languages at the Symposium, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Farsi translations were made in accordance with delegates’ needs.


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* Symposiumbericht in Deutsch (rtf-Datei) *




Anti-terrorism and freedom of expression

Participants in the panel from Jordan, Palestine, Turkey and Belgium discussed the attacks on organising and freedom of expression carried out under the name of the struggle against terrorism, and the need to struggle against this. Speeches in the panel were made by the Leuven Catholic University Professor Jean Bricmont, Info-Turk representative Dogan Ozguden, the editor of the Jordan newspaper Al-Arab Al-Yawm Asad Ali Hasan Huseyin and the Jordanian intellectual Hisham Bustani; the session stressed the connections between repression of freedom of thought through anti-terror laws, whether in the Middle East or Europe.

Isolation directed at peoples and countries

embassy_symposium.jpgA panel consisted of the counsellors of the Venezuelan and Cuban embassy and Palestinian deputy ministers for prisoners. It dealt with isolation used against peoples and countries. The participation of ambassadors and ministers in this sixth symposium was an indication of the degree of legitimacy it has acquired. Examples of the embargoes by imperialism and its attacks on the world’s peoples using war, military occupations and intervention were cited.

The ambassador of Venezuela showed a cinevision display accompanied by a statement of resolve in struggling for socialism under the leadership of Hugo Chavez. Shortly before, a referendum on giving Venezuela a socialist constitution had been lost but he stressed that this did not mean the struggle would diminish, some lessons would be learned and the struggle would go on with increased resolve.

The Cuban ambassador said the 50 years of embargo against Cuba was not a matter of economic restrictions, it was an all-out siege. He stressed the siege was an imperialist blockade aimed at achieving destruction and destroying the will of the Cuban people.



Prisoners’ panel

symposium_1512.jpgThis was joined by the lawyer from Turkey Behic Asci, Delphine Paci of the International Prison Observation Committee, Belgian Human Rights League chair Benoit Van Der Meerschen, a delegation from the Palestinian prisons ministry and CLEA. and it was stressed that isolation practices varied depending on the country but the basis of isolation was to make resisters surrender and deprive them of their personality.


cultural_symposium1.jpgThe second day included a Free Prisoners’ Cultural Evening. Besides a speech by a Platform Against Isolation representative, the lawyer Behic Asci and the Belgian senator Josy Dubie also spoke; the Crystal music group played Latin America’s music, while the Nuray-Taner duet stirred peoples’ emotions with folk songs. Grup Yorum encouraged people to dance the halay and then sang international songs to express the spirit of the symposium.

Another offering was a photo gallery put together by Italian journalists Grazzia Cecchoni and Emmanuela Rubini consisting of pictures taken during the Great Resistance. The gallery clearly pleased participants in the symposium.


There were three separate panels on the third day, on the subject of anti-terror laws and black lists.

Basic rights and lawyers

jurists_symposium.jpgLawyer Flavio Rossi Albertini (Italy), lawyer Jan Fermon (Belgium), lawyer Sahar Mahdi (Iraq), lawyer Eberhard Schultz (Germany), lawyer Selcuk Kozagacli (Turkey), lawyer Mario Joseph (Haiti) took part in the panel, alongside Jean-Phillipe Wilmotte, a special representative of former Algerian head of state Ahmet Ben Bella, and the panel noted that under the name of war on terrorism, the anti-terror laws emptied law and justice of their meanings and aimed to destroy rights and freedoms won through hundreds of years of struggle.

The panel examined how the true dimension of crimes against humanity in the prisons of Abu Ghraib and Haiti. Practices in Germany, Italy and Belgium were no different and conditions of imprisonment and captivity which used the war against terrorism as an excuse were known to the whole world under the name of the F-Types.

Basic rights and freedoms and the right to organise

This panel was joined by CLEA from Belgium, OPROER from Denmark, CAMPACC from Britain and the UK-based organisation Cageprisoners, the Political Prisoners’ Network from Germany and the Anatolian Federation who discussed the effect of the anti-terror laws on social movements.

The most striking truth of this panel was the way that in different countries the attacks on rights and freedoms were similar and came from the same sources, yet the resistance to them was limited and tended to be confined within national borders. Again it was clear that a struggle needed to be waged at a universal and international level against these attacks, and organised in the same way.

The curtailment of social organisations and freedoms

This was joined by trade union representatives from ADEDY and DOE, in Greece, a branch chairman of the ABVV union in Belgium, the Begian representative of ATTAC, ASP from Italy, and the editor of the Senza Censura magazine, also from Italy. They made speeches, and a message from DISK Genel-Is chair (in Turkey) Mehmet Karagoz was read out.



Press conference

Participants in the Symposium held a press conference at the Belgian Human Rights League to evaluate it. The Belga news agency and some newspaper and magazine representatives attended.

After the press conference, international delegates went outside the Turkish embassy to show solidarity with an HOC (Front for Rights and Freedoms) protest against the killing of DHKC (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front) fighter Kevser Mirzak.


International hunger strikes to mark December 19-22

At the call of the International Platform Against Isolation, every year from 19-22 December as part of the symposium, hunger strikes take place as an expression of international solidarity, and this year too, revolutionary prisoners from various countries took part. Besides DHKP-C Trial prisoners in Turkey, there were participants in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Basque Country and Spain who made their solidarity evident in a concrete way.

In these days, here are the prisoners who staged hunger strikes and sent messages in solidarity with the symposium.

From Hamburg Prison, İlhan Yelkuvan and eight common law prisoners:
“From Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, from F-Types to the walls of Palestine, in many parts of the world torture and massacres continue. These inhuman tortures and massacres go on behind prison walls. These attacks aim at the isolation and destruction of resisters. They seek to frighten and intimidate the peoples, but this should be remembered: “When hearts are great, fears are small, when fears are great humanity is small.”


Devrim Güler, Schwabisch Hall:
“I want to greet Behic Asci. His selfless solidarity has been a lesson to us. At the same time I greet Symposium participants for their uncompromising approach to human rights and refusal to bow to difficulties”.


Rainer Dittrich, Lubeck:
“It pleases me to see how effective are actions based on the international struggle and revolutionary structures. Do not let your belief in the future, devotion and self-sacrifice become eroded; strengthen your determination to struggle, your political and human will”.


Gabriel Pombo Da Silva, Aachen:
“Thank you for the invitation to participate at the symbolic hunger strike during your VI symposium against isolation and torture (that by the way exist not only in Guantanamo or Abu Graib), the so called ‘Antiterror’ legislation, the occupation of many countries in the world fighting for self-determination, their rights etc. (Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), or fighting against political embargos and sanctions (Cuba, Iran, etc.) imposed by the imperialist countries. So, nothing has changed in our fight against capitalists and their plans of exploitation and repression… There is a long fight to fight until the end of capitalism.
Communism (liberal Communism as I wish) or barbarism, that is the choice and I know, as clearly as my comrades do, what I prefer… :) And so, during the VI Symposium Against Isolation (14th to 17th December), which will take place in Belgium (Bruxelles), the Spanish militants
- Jose Fernandes Delgrado (prison Rheinbach)
- Rafael Martinez Zea (prison Puerto III)
- Joaquin Garcés Villacampa (prison Castellón)
and I will participate at the hunger strike in memory of the dead Turkish resistance fighters. I suppose, our comrade Marco Camenisch (prison Regelsdorf, Switzerland) to join us in this hunger strike. My warmest wishes

Freedom for everyone!”


F. Delfrado
“First of all, thank you for the letter that I received last Friday. I will participate at the general hunger strike during the days of the symposium, not only to protest isolation but also any prison in the world.”


Marco Camenisch, Regensdorf

Christian Facchinetti, Bologna

Federico Rizzoli, Bologna

Juan Fernandez Sorroche, Ferrara

Matteo Greco, Voghera

Ivano Fadda, ‘Buoncammino’ Prison, Cagliari, (Sardinia)
“Since I am in prison I will not be able to take physically part in the International Platform. However I would like to send you my warmest regards and to join my energies in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism which every day cause death, sorrow and repression to the people. Repression of men and women who do not surrender to the terrorist acts of the nazi-fascists of the XXI. century: the ones leaded by Bush, that butcher. I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to show my solidarity to the revolutionary prisoners of the all world. In particular I would like to remember Avni Er and his partner Nazan Ercan expressing them my solidarity. These Turkish comrades are illegally held in custody inside Italian prisons because of their opposition to the fascist Turkish state.These two comrades risk to be deported in Turkey and locked in F prisons, infamous for the inhuman and horrible treatment of the political prisoners..”

PCE(r)/GRAPO prisoners and DHKP-C Trial prisoners from Turkey went on hunger strike for three days, and Ivano Fadda, from Cagliari in Italy sent a solidarity message and sent greetings to those involved in struggle.