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CPJ condemns Kurdish authorities for sentencing freelance in Duhok

  2021-06-23  | 
 Zhyan News Network
File Photo - Freelance journalist Omed Baroshki who have been sentenced by a court in Duhok to a year and a fine after he was arrested about a year ago. Photo courtesy of social media
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the Kurdish authorities in Erbil for sentencing a freelance journalist to a year in prison and a payment of a fine amounting to 240,000 Iraqi dinars ($165).   

Nearly a year passed over his detention, Journalist Omed Baroshki was convicted  on Tuesday on three charges by a criminal court in Duhok and sentenced to twelve months in prison and payment of a fine, according to his defense lawyer Ramazan Artisi. 

“With today’s sentencing of freelance journalist Omed Baroshky, Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq have again displayed their unhindered determination to shrink the space in which local journalists and media outlets are able to operate freely,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.

“Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq should immediately release Baroshky, drop the charges against him, and cease harassing the media,” Delgado added. 

Baroshki was convicted on one charge of contravening Article 240 of Iraqi Penal Code, which criminalizes disobeying an order by a public official,  and fined to pay 

240,000 Iraqi dinars (around 164 US dollars) , while the other two charges were based upon Law on Misuse on Communication Devices improper use of his media devices.

Activists and journalist's have long denounced the statute issued in 2008 for narrowing the freedom of the press and expression and clamping on on free thoughts. 
Baroshki is expected to face new charges in a new trial on July 29. 

The court decision is “unfair and not accurate,” Artisi told Zhyan News Network, saying the defense team will file a discriminatory appeal against it.

The Kurdistan Region has come under scrutiny for deteriorating state of freedom of the press and expression, especially regarding the case of five convicted journalists and activists from Duhok’s Badinan, after they were sentenced to six years in prison in February over controversial charges amounting to undermining the stability and security of the Region.

Metro Center for Journalist’s Rights and Advocacy documented nearly 400 violations committed against journalists and media outlets in the Kurdistan Region in 2020.

(Zhyan English)