8th International Symposium against Isolation

December 12th, 2009

The 8th International Symposium Against Isolation will take place in London this year, 18th-20th December.Every year since 2002, the International Platform Against Isolation has held this Symposium, each time in a different European city. The original impetus came from the opposition to the state in Turkey’s use of isolation cells and isolation prisons against its political opponents.
But this practice was not confined to Turkey. Indeed, it reflects a global reality. Entire countries can be isolated through sanctions or threats of invasion, sometimes carried out, as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Organisations can be proscribed as “terrorist”, which in part aims at isolating them.      
And even individuals can be isolated, with or without actual imprisonment.
However, where there is oppression there is and must be resistance. The International Symposium is part of this. By bringing together a diverse range of opinion from different countries, united by being, in their different ways, system critics, the Symposium is itself a step in overcoming the isolation.     
This is the International Symposium’s call to participate in this year’s London event. We hope you will be able to participate, and look forward to hearing from you.
With best regards,
International Platform against Isolation

phone: 0044 7780 235 034

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International Symposium against Isolation
London, 18th-20th December 2009



Friday, 18 December 2009

Place: BOLIVAR HALL, 54 Grafton Way London W1T 5DL (United Kingdom)
Opening 7.30 p.m
3 Workshops: 8.30 till 10.00 pm (YMCA Indian Student Hostel, 41 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 6AQ)
This year, Barack Obama was elected US President. He differs in a number of respects from his predecessor Bush. But the real essence of imperialism has not changed, even if the tactics and the presentation to some extent have. The workshops will not only cover these areas, but it will also deal with the difficulties of solidarity and political work in European countries, the danger of being criminalized and targetted, by use of anti-terror laws and media witch-hunts.     
A- Political prisoners and anti-terror legislation: Guantanamo is being closed down by the US authorities, but the essential nature of US imperialism has not changed under Obama, including use of imprisonment and worse. We hope to examine the changes from the past, the continuity with the past and different approaches under Obama, aimed at the same goal as past governments.     
The worldwide prison system, whether serving as industrial complexes or as places of intimidation and isolation, has expanded and developed very quickly in the past years. Political prisoners in particular are subjected to systematic isolation regimes and their rights are severely violated. There are hundreds of examples throughout the globe. These violations include medical neglect, partial or complete restriction of communication with the outside world, as well as physical abuse or torture.      
Anti-terror laws and blacklists, which will be also discussed in this workshop, continue in force, with organisations and individuals proscribed as “terrorist”. There is potential for organisations on these blacklists to be pulled within the orbit of imperialism if the latter thinks fit and thinks these organisations may be useful to it. This can result in groups being taken off the lists. They can go from being “terrorists” to “freedom fighters”. Groups that continue to be seen as a threat, however, continue to be blacklisted.     
B- Coordination of legal work in context with political trials: Democratic lawyers and their institutions are more and more faced with political cases against activists, which complicate their legal work and the defense of their clients. Today many political trials within European countries are being connected to each other and there’s an increase of data-exchange among international secret services. For this and other reasons, there is a need of stronger cooperation and exchange between lawyers of different countries. This workshop should give lawyers the oportunity to exchange experiences and to create an international legal network.      
C- Sanctions/aggression towards countries: Under Obama, less overt aggression is evident than under Bush, with some discussion of normalising relations with Cuba, for example. However, threats to countries like Venezuela persist, and there is also the military coup in Honduras, overtly condemned by the USA but possibly approved and even ordered secretly by it. Again, compared to Bush, less open aggression, more working in the shadows. Also, the Israeli aggression in Gaza was designed to take advantage of the last days of the Bush presidency, but Obama never condemned it.     
In all those cases a worldwide media campaign was started, to legitimize the acts of aggression and accusing the resistance.
Saturday, 19th December 2009
Place: BOLIVAR HALL, 54 Grafton Way London W1T 5DL
1) 10.00am.-12.30 pm.: Repression and isolation towards countries
There are invited among others speakers from Venezuela, Honduras, Cuba, Palestine, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon
Lunch break 12.30-4.00 pm.
2) 4.00-7.00 p.m.: Intimidation policy towards political opposition by laws and political prisoners
There are invited among others speakers from Turkey, USA, Ireland, Basque country, Lebanon, ex-Guantanamo prisoners, and speakers on the case of the Cuban 5.
Sunday, 20th December 2009
Place: Ocean Hackney, 270 Mare Street, Hackney LONDON
3.00 p.m.-10.00 p.m.: Cultural Event

with the music group from Turkey Grup Yorum, the folk singers Nuray-Taner,
Irish protest and folk singer Ciaran Murphy, Basque music group and music from Latin America and Middle East.

Part of the program will be messages from former prisoners, relatives of prisoners and other special guests.
Organisations are invited to have their information stalls there.
The background of this cultural event will be political prisoners and the resistance to isolation. At the same time we want to commemorate the 122 political prisoners in Turkey, who have lost their lives during the 19th-22nd December operation and during their resistance to the F-type isolation prisons.     
Among our guests there will be lawyers, trade unionists, medical associations, anti-war movements, political activists and former political prisoners from several countries.
The list of confirmed participants:

       Kit Aastrup, Oproer (Rebellion)
       Ashanti (Michael) Alston, spokes person of
       the National Jericho Movement and former BPP/BLA political prisoner

       Paulette Dauteuil, NYC Jericho
       Naji Mujahid/William Fenwick, Jericho DC
      Sahar Mahdi, lawyer, defended Abu Ghraib prisoners
      Dr. Mariam Abu-Daqa, Palestinian
      Developmental Women Studies Association (PDWSA)

      Hassan Mahmoud, lawyer of Palestinian political prisoner Ahmad Sa’adat
      Mohammed Safa, secretary general of the Khiam Rehabilitation Center for the Victims of Torture
      Amal Khalil, member of the Khiam Rehabilitation 
      Basque country:
      Iratxe Urizar, lawyer and member of Behatokia
      Edurne Iriondo, lawyer and member of Behatokia
      Manuel Maria Vadell Graterol, lawyer
      Teresa Aquino de Vadell
      Representative of the Venezuelan embassy
      Sara Elisa Rosales, National Resistance Front
      against the coup in Honduras


      Luis Marron, political counsellor of the Cuban embassy
      Senza Censura
      Association for Proletarian Solidarity (ASP)
      Representatives of the Anatolian Federation
      Rote Hilfe (Red Aid)

      Luk Vervaet, CLEA (Committee for the Freedom of Expression and Association)
      Jan Fermon, lawyer
      Collective Georges Ibrahim Abdallah
      Secours Rouge Arabe
      Republican Sinn Fein
      former political prisoners  
      Perico Rodriguez, Counsellor at Medical Foundation
      Irish Political Status Campaign Committee

      Helen Bamber, Helen Bamber Foundation

      David Enright, barrister, Howe & Co Solicitors


      Selcuk Kozagacli, lawyer and genel secretary of the Progressive Lawyer’s Association CHD
      Ahmet Kulaksiz, member of TAYAD
      Ferhat Gercek, young activist, who was disabled by police bullets while selling a left
      Meryem Özsögüt, KESK

      Kaan Kurtulus, member of the Youth Federation
                        … and many others.