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Journalist Sherwani charged with 'defaming Asayish': Lawyer

  2021-02-28  | 
 Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – A lawsuit sought by the Kurdistan Region’s General Prosecutor was filed against journalist Sherwan Sherwani on charges of “defaming Asayish [security forces],” said one of his lawyers on Sunday (February 28).

Sherwani, who is serving a six-year-prison sentence, was brought to Erbil’s Khanaqa Police Station on Sunday and he was questioned, Sherwani’s lawyer Bashdar Hassan said during a press conference.

No lawyer was allowed to attend the questioning of Sherwani at the police station, another lawyer Kamaran Sarmami said.

After being questioned at the police station, Sherwani appeared in balaclava flanked by armed police outside Erbil Investigation Court where he was “impeached.”

“The lawsuit by Asayish General Directorate based on allegations that on February 16, during the trial against Sherwani and his friends when he defended himself, he has allegedly defamed Asayish,” he added.

“We attended the trial on Feb 16, Mr. Sherwan didn’t defame Asayish in any way.”

On February 16, the Branch 2 of Erbil’s Criminal Court sentenced five journalists and activists, including independent journalist Sherwan Sherwani to six in prison, sparking outrage on social media and among human rights activists.

They have been accused of “taking pictures of forbidden places,” “releasing information about the movement of the security forces,” and “receiving money from outside the Kurdistan Region for exchanging information about the security agencies.”

The defendants all denied the charges against them and lawyer for the cases Bashdar Hasan lamented a “bad” ruling, saying the charges had “previously been decided.”

Kurdish parliament member, Ali Hama Salih who attended the court hearing, said the trial was “so unfair” and that the charges were “politically motivated.”

More than 60 journalists, activists and political opposition figures are in the Kurdistan Democratic Party-held prisons in Duhok and Badinan, without charge or trial for periods ranging from several weeks to a year.

(Zhyan English)