SULAIMANI – Trial against Badinan Journalists and activists in Erbil court was “very transparent and open,” said the office of Dindar Zebari, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Coordinator for International Advocacy.
The office issued a statement, saying the court proceedings took place with participation of representatives of diplomatic missions and local organizations.
Zebari’s office responded to criticism by Committee to Protect Journalists which described the sentencing of journalists and activists as “unfair and disproportionate,” saying “the penal will be revised.”
“According to the evidences presented by the general prosecutor, the convicts have established a group on social media and cooperated as part of plans to destabilize the Kurdistan Region’s security and stability,” it added.
The journalists and activists have been accused 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 office of Dindar Zebari, KRG’s Coordinator for International Advocacy refused reports that journalist Sherwan Sherwani has been subjected to torture, saying international organizations visited him and detected no signs of torture.
The Kurdistan Region’s Judicial Council said on Wednesday (February 17) that a ruling against five Badinan journalists and activists was “transparent.”
The council accused critics of the decision of sentencing the journalists and activists to 6 years in prison of “intervening” in the work of the judicial authority.
The trial took place “with the participation of several parliament members, consulate representatives, lawyers, human rights organizations representatives, journalists and media outlets,” read a statement by the Judicial Council.
“The process was on the basis of judiciary,” it added.
Kurdistan Journalists’ Syndicate in a statement on Wednesday (February 17) referred to the detained journalists as “civilians,” demanding their release.
People in the Kurdistan Region must have full access to freedom of speech and the practice of civil activities must be allowed, the syndicate said.