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Canada 'deeply concerned' on convicted journalists, activists

  2021-05-08  | 
 Zhyan News Network
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Embassy of Canada to Iraq on Friday (May 7) expressed concerns about court ruling against Duhok’s five journalists and activists who were each sentenced to six years in prison over charges of “spy.”

“Canada is deeply concerned about the conviction of journalists and activists in Kurdistan Region. Free and independent media are cornerstones of democracies,” the embassy twitted.

On February 16, Second Branch of the Erbil Criminal Court sentenced the five to six years in prison over controversial charges for undermining the stability and security of the Kurdistan Region, but they deny the charges and claim their confessions were manipulated.

It was made public on Thursday that the Region's appellate court, three out of the court's total five judges, approved the sentence as it was signed on April 28.

“Journalists and diversity of opinions supply the oxygen that is vital for free, inclusive and informed societies,” Embassy of Canada to Iraq said.

The court accused German and US consulates in Erbil of involvement, saying “The convicts telephoned the German and US consulates [in Erbil], met their diplomats in a hotel and were paid by them.”

US and German consulates reacted to the accusations reiterating their support to freedom of expression media.

“The Court’s reference today is absurd & goes against the spirit of our close and friendly relations between,” the German consulate said in a tweet. “Free exchanges with journalists & activists are part and parcel of diplomats’ daily work, also of German Consulate in Erbil.”

“While we do not comment on individual court cases, the United States has supported freedom of expression and media since our founding. It is part of our identity and we continue to promote it as one of our core values,” the US consulate said.

(Zhyan English)