SULAIMANI - The Committee to Protect Journalists said on Tuesday (February 17) that the sentencing of journalists and activists by an Erbil court is “unfair and disproportionate.”
An Erbil court on Tuesday sentenced journalist Sherwan Amin Sherwani and another four journalists and activists to six years in prison.
“Sentencing of journalists Sherwan Amin Sherwani and Guhdar Zebari is not only unfair and disproportionate, but it also proves that the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government has finally dropped the pretense of caring about press freedom,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.
CPJ called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to “immediately release both journalists, drop the charges against them, and cease harassing the media.”
Lawyer for the cases Bashdar Hasan lamented a “bad” ruling, saying the charges had “previously been decided.”
“A speech by the Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister (on Feb. 10) was a prove that the charges have previously been decided,” Bashdar Hasan said.
During a speech on February 10, Masrour Barzani KRG Prime Minister accused detained journalists and activists who have been held from his party’s prisons in Duhok and Badinan of being “spies.”
Kurdish parliament member, Ali Hama Salih who attended the court hearing, said the trial was “so unfair” and that the charges were “politically motivated.”