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MPs visit detention center holding Badinan convicts in Erbil

  2021-04-01  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Cahir of the Kurdistan Parliament’s Social Affairs and Protection of Human Rights Committee Romeo Hakari speaks to reporters, April, 2021. Photo by Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Kurdistan Parliament’s Social Affairs and Protection of Human Rights Committee members visited journalists and activists who were sentenced in February to closely monitor the conditions of their lengthy detention in a jail affiliated with the security forces. 

On February 16, Sherwan Sherwani, Shvan Saeed, Guhdar Zebari, Hariwan Issa and Ayaz Karam were sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted by Branch 2 of Erbil’s Criminal Court.

The court ruled on 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 sentences caused uproar in the Kurdistan Region and was condemned by local and international human rights watchdogs and foreign missions including the US embassy. 

On March 29, head of the Kurdistan Justice Group (KJG) bloc in the Kurdistan Parliament Abdulstar Majid said that the prosecutor general had promised him to make more reviews to the case of the convicts. 

During a joint conference on Thursday, Committee Chair Romeo Hakari said that there was lack of accommodation at the jail containing the inmates and lack of necessary medicines. 

Hakari, who is from Romeo Hakari the National Union Coalition representing the Christian minority, said that the he did not notice any scars of tortures on the inmates’ bodies. 

Committee Deputy Chair Gulistan Said Muhammad from the Change Movement (Change) said that some of the convicts went on hunger strike for fifteen days, others’ hunger strike ranged from three days to a week in protest of their sentences. 

“We are waiting for the Court of Appeal to review their cases and embed justice,” Said said, “One of the violations at the place we saw was the narrowness of the place has left more effect on their psychology because there are a lot of inmates in a small space.”

The Garran lawmaker also said that the place original capacity contains 30 inmates, but there are about 130 inmates.

“The Erbil Asayish Directorate told us that many inmates from the Erbil Adult Reform prison have been transferred to jail due to construction at the correctional facility,” she said. 

The Committee Rapporteur Badriya Esmail said that the convicts told them they were not allowed to meet with their lawyers before and after their sentences, only a few of them visisted one of their families before the court trial. 

“This is a kind of human rights violation,” Esmail said. “The convicts told us that they cannot comfortably contact their families.”

Besides Zebari and Sherwani, over a score of other journalists, activists and political opposition figures are held in jails under the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) jurisdiction in Duhok governorate without charge or trial for periods ranging from several weeks to a year. 

(Zhyan English)