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Trials for 17 Badinan activists and journalists begin in Erbil

  2021-02-15  | 
 Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Trials for 17 Badinan journalists and activists at an Erbil court began on Monday (February 13) on charges of “endangering national security” and cases for another two activists were reverted to the investigative court.

“The trials were set to take place at Erbil’s Second Criminal Court, but the judge was on leave, so the court hearing took place in the Fourth Criminal Court,” said lawyer Hemin Rafaat.

Hemin Rafaat, lawyer for activist Guhdar Zebari said he was prevented to enter the court and attend the court hearing by security forces.

Activist Nyaz Abdullah said “some of the detainees have been subjected to torture during their detention. We have noticed that basic rights of the prisoners have been violated.”

During a speech on February 10, Masrour Barzani Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister accused detained journalists and activists who have been held from his party’s prisons in Duhok and Badinan of being “spies.”

More than 26 journalists, activists and political opposition figures are in the Kurdistan Democratic Party-held prisons in Erbil, Duhok and Badinan, some of them without charge or trial for periods ranging from several weeks to a year.

In its year-end report, the Metro Center documented nearly 400 violations were committed against journalists and media outlets in the Kurdistan Region in 2020.

The violations included 74 arrests without a warrant, 163 detentions, the shuttering of four offices of broadcasters, and 42 cases of confiscation of journalists’ equipment.

(Zhyan English)