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After over 40 days, fate of Journalist Qaraman Shukri is unknown

  2021-03-10  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Journalist Qaraman Shukri who was detained by a masked group affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on January 27, 2021. His fate and whereabouts has been unknown since then. Graphic by Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Almost 41 days passed since Journalist Qaraman Shukri was detained by some masked armed men in Shiladze sub-district in Kurdistan Region’s Duhok governorate. His whereabouts has been unknown since then. 

On January 27, several masked armed men affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) raided Shukri’s home in Sirey community in Shiladze against the backdrop of a clampdown launched by the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) targeting freelance journalists, activists and dissidents in Duhok governorate since spring 2020.

“We do not know about his fate and where he has taken to,” his brother Zeravan Shukri told Zhyan News Network on Tuesday (March 9). “We had tried to find his whereabouts through some personalities and lawyers, but our attempts bore no fruits.” 

He called on the human rights organizations, the Kurdistan Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to follow up on his brother’s case and identify his fate. 

Over the last spring, KDP forces have started cracking down on demonstrators, teachers, activists and journalists who mostly participated in anti-government protests erupted in last May over salary delays by the KRG.  KDP forces arrested 100 protesters at the time.

It released many of them on bails and retained several others without concrete charges.  

On February 16, five of the detainee were sentenced to six year in prison after being convicted by Branch 2 of Erbil’s Criminal Court for controversial charges 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 crackdown and the trial have sparked condemnations from local and international organizations and advocacy groups.

During a session by the Swedish parliament on Tuesday, Iran-born Kurdish lawmaker Amineh Kakabaveh criticized the arrest of 26 journalists and activists by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

“It has shaken us that KRG's new governing leadership, led by Masrour Barzani since August 2020, has had 26 journalists and activists arrested and imprisoned who in various ways expressed criticism of KRG's policies,” Kakabaveh said.

(Zhyan English)