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6 arrested over defamation charges lodged by Darbadnikhan health chief: police

  2021-07-06  | 
 Zhyan News Network
A file photo of Darbandikhan Health Dirctor Sazan Ibrahim Aziz at her office in Darbandikhan, north of Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
 Zhyan News Network


SULAIMANI – Spokesperson for Sulaimani Police Directorate Sarakwt Ahmad said on Tuesday (July 6) that six people have been arrested after a senior health official filed as many as 40 lawsuits following a series of Facebook critical posts and comments in Darbandikhan district.

The lawsuits have been filed on charges of defamation in accordance with Misuse of Communication Devices Law issued in 2008 by the Kurdistan Parliament.

Provisions of the statute includes sentences terms from six months to five years and fines starting from one to five million Iraqi dinars.

On July 1, Metro Center for Journalist’ Rights and Advocacy said that over 70 lawsuits against journalists, activists and critics following a barrage of Facebook posts and comments critical of shortcomings in the district’s health sector.

On June 19, a number of activists and journalists went to the Darbandikhan mayoral district building, located 66 kilometers southeast of Sulaimani, to present their demands for the health sector in the city, Metro Center for Journalists' Rights and Advocacy reported.

Photos and addresses of the rest of the defendants have bene given to the police stations to arrest them, Ahmad added. 

On July 1, Darbandikhan Health Directorate said that it had sued owners of 24 pages and accounts on Facebook over “libel and defamation.”

The Kurdistan Region has come under fire by the human rights organizations such as (CPJ), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the foreign missions in Erbil and Baghdad for the deteriorating state of the freedom of press and expression.

Metro Center documented nearly 400 violations committed against journalists and media outlets in the Kurdistan Region in 2020.

(Zhyan English)