March 18 (RAPSI) - Turkey violated the rights of Abdullah Ocalan, founder of the illegal Kurdistan Worker’s Party, convicted of having carried out secessionist acts by keeping him socially isolated in prison, and through the irreducible nature of his life sentence, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday.

Ocalan was detained in 1999 and convicted of having carried out acts orchestrated to cause the secession of part of Turkey, and toward that end leading a group of “armed terrorists” that carried out attacks, resulting in thousands of deaths, according to a statement released by the ECHR.

He was sentenced to death in 1999. Peacetime death-penalty was abolished in Turkey in 2002, at which point Ocalan’s sentence was commuted to a life sentence without the possibility of release.

The overhauled Turkish Criminal Code stipulates that anyone who received a death sentence for terrorism, which was then commuted, must serve out his sentence until the end of his life.

Ocalan spent 11 years in solitary confinement. As a result of various initiatives spearheaded by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), Ocalan has gained access to various basic comforts, including a TV set and limited permission to socialize with his fellow inmates, according to the statement.

Still, a number of issues persist, including infrequent or irregular visits from his family and legal representatives.

Ocalan complained to the ECHR that his rights had been violated under various articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention), including Article 3 – which prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, Article 8 – which protects the right to respect for private and family life, and Article 7 – which prohibits illegal punishments.

With regard to Article 3, the ECHR found by a close 4-3 majority that there were violations with regard to Ocalan’s solitary confinement through 2009. The court held unanimously that there was an Article 3 violation with regard to his life sentence without the possibility of release.

His detention following the CPT initiatives, however, were seen by the ECHR as compatible of his Article 3 rights.

The ECHR found that there were no violations of Articles 7 or 8.

The Court ordered Turkey to pay Ocalan EUR 25,000 in costs and expenses.