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Badinan detainees demand KDP to put end to their trials

  2021-07-08  | 
 Zhyan News Network
A graphic shows some of the Badinan detained journalists and activist, who have been arrested by the security forces since 2020 in Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Baidnan detained activists and journalists who were arrested last year in Duhok called on the political parties, the public opinion and the foreign missions to put pressure on the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to halt their trials and plight in prison, they said in a joint message after making telephone calls with their families on Wednesday.
Between March and April in 2021, KDP-affiliated security forces cracked down on anti-government protests in Duhok and apprehended scores of individuals, and specifically in the Badinan area, northwest of the governorate, Amnesty International reported on June 15.

Many of the detained journalists, activists and protesters are still behind the bar. 

Five of them were sentenced to six years in prison in February and upheld in April by a top court over controversial charges amounting to the undermining of the national security and stability. Two others were sentenced to twelve months and to seven years in prison respectively in late June. 

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 court trials and decisions.

The detainees are calling on the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Change Movement (Gorran), the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), the Kurdistan Justice Group (KJG), the New Generation and the public opinion to take a stance in protest of their ordeal. 

“If you practically prevent it, the KDP cannot carry on this oppression,” the detainees said.

“We are aware our sentences have been upheld and our friends are being sentenced, which is an illegal and unjust decision,” those who have been sentenced said. “We have been prosecuted since the first day they abducted us.”

“They are penalizing us to scare the people in Badinan and the Kurdistan Region in favor of the KDP and preventing civil struggle.”

The activists and journalists are also calling on the UN, US, other foreign missions, human rights organizations and the EU to put “pressure” on the KDP and “prevent the process.”

They are also calling on the Gorran and PUK to boycott the meetings of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Council of Ministers and withdraw from the government if they are against the KDP’s decisions in relation to the case.

The detainees also said that “they are in poor conditions in the Asayish (security) correctional prison” in Erbil.
“Our place is not good in the General Asayish prison and some of us are in good health condition. We should be transferred to Zirka Correctional Prison in Duhok, because we are residents of that governorate.

The KDP has accused the detainees for spying for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Germany, the US, Iraqi officials, a charge they all deny and they claim they make wrong confession under duress. 

In February, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said ahead of the February trial for the five: “They were neither journalists nor civil rights activists... they were spies of foreign governments and saboteurs.”

“The accusation by the KDP courts attributed to us are not accurate that we have been called armed men, terrorists and spies, while we care about this country,” they stated.

“We consist of journalists activists, veteran peshmerga, teachers, doctors, engineers and university lecturers. We have had different views and civil struggles and we have not damaged a tree in this homeland. We are honorably in prison on people’s rights and our morale is high.”

On Wednesday, the Kurdistan Journalist’ Syndicate said at a news conference that 71 violations were logged against media outlets and journalists in the first six months in 2021. 

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

(Zhyan English)