On Tuesday (16/2/2021), the Court in Erbil sentenced a number of journalists and activists in the Badinan region of north west Iraqi Kurdistan to six years in prison: Sherwan Sherwani, Fahdar Zebari, Shafan Saeed, Ayaz Karam and Hariwan Issa. Despite the absence of any legal evidence being presented in court sessions to substantiate the charges against them, these harsh sentences were imposed against them.
And just as their detention on 7-10-2020 was far from any legal procedures, when they were attacked & arrested by a masked force, their whereabouts not known for nineteen days, were denied access to their relatives or lawyers, and subjected to torture through-out that period; today, after four months and nine Days, they are given the harshest sentences, with complete lack of evidence. This proves that their arrest and trial was politically motivated. It also proves that the judicial institution is a completely partisan institution, lacking independence and has nothing to do with the proper judicial system.
The history of the authority of this ruling party, (the KDP- Kurdistan Democratic Party), is made up of repression, tyranny and prosecution of emancipatory people and the deprivation of the rights of the oppressed. Their current repression is a continuation of this same bleak history but, is now more than the actions of a party and an authority intent on political repression. Amid conditions of lack of wages, the imposition of hunger and unemployment, which led to widespread mass protests and put the society on the brink of explosion, these despotic sentences have now made these journalists and activists victims of the authority’s policies and its attempts to prevent this mass uprising which could result in its fall..
This is a threat to all emancipatory people, to every dissenting voice, and is akin to sharpening the claws of the authority against the working and oppressed masses, to suppress the demonstrations and uprisings that they fear will bring about their end. We must stand up to this oppression and tyranny.
Rawt Newspaper Editorial Board
(Rawt is the Kurdish newspaper of the Organisation of Communist Alternativein Iraq)