A massive public outrage on various media platforms erupted following a video recording released on PUK run TV channels In Iraqi Kurdistan on 4.1.2022, showing 18 detained protestors (mostly labourers and unemployed people), appearing humiliated and dressed in orange prison overalls.
The young men in the video were allegedly confessing to have taken part in setting fire to the central library of Peera Megroon (a small town on the fringes of Sulaymaniyah), during the widespread student protests of 24.11.2021 that lasted several days & that rapidly spread across several towns & districts in & around Sulaymaniyah.
It emerged that these protestors had been arrested more than 20 days previously by the Sulaymaniyah Intelligence apparatus (Asayish) which is under the direct authority of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
This appalling behaviour of the Asayish forces of the PUK, (that party which still identifies itself, as one of the Social- Democratic parties and has regular representation at the meetings & conferences of those parties around Europe), bears a shocking resemblance to the atrocities of the fascist Baath regime and the executioners of ISIS, and it sends a chilling reminder to the oppressed masses of Iraq & Kurdistan of all the crimes that were committed by those fascists.
However, more than anything, it is a display and recognition of the authorities’ own crumbling grip on power and a declaration of their lost war against the masses of workers, the youth and all the freedom loving people in Kurdistan.
For over a decade, specifically since February 17, 2011, the hands of the ruling militia parties, (KDP) and (PUK) as well as their various security services have been stained with the blood of demonstrators in Kurdistan. Killing dozens, wounding and arresting thousands, whose only crime had been nothing other than protesting poverty, unemployment, corruption, and the struggle for free and decent living. Concurrently, judicial rulings have been issued against many activists and demonstrators on various fabricated charges by the courts in the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) controlled areas.
The showing of Peera Megroon protestors in such a degrading & humiliating way on TV, is not only an insult to the protestors, their families and loved ones, it is an outright insult to all the citizens of Kurdistan and an appalling abuse of the most basic rights of detainees.
At the same time, it exposes the scandalous practices of repression, physical and psychological torture carried out by the security forces against workers and the impoverished. It also shows how these detainees were preyed on by the Asayish in Sulaymaniyah, having had their confessions extracted while deprived of the solidarity from organizations and unions and their supporters.
Workers, Youth, Emancipatory masses of Kurdistan:
This fascist theatrical played by the authorities, raises serious alarm bells. Its purpose is to spread terror and fear among the masses, and all the protesters and anyone who stands up to injustice, corruption, and lack of rights. It is a dangerous step towards establishing a militia rule and absolute tyranny in the society. We have no other option but to strengthen our determination to achieve our just aims and demands and advance our unified struggle against these brutal crimes and the entirety of the militia rule of the Kurdish bourgeois nationalism.
While we, at Organisation of the Communist Alternative in Iraq, condemn this conduct by the Asayish in the strongest terms, at the same time, we call for the immediate release of these detainees and all the detained protestors, in areas under the control of both PUK and KDP including those convicted by the courts.
The Kurdistan Regional Government KRG must officially apologise to the detainees of Peera Magroon and the citizens of Kurdistan for this atrocious act by the Asayish.
We also appeal to all freedom lovers, socialists, workers’ trade unions and federations, and human rights advocates to condemn this repressive exercise of power and to join us in solidarity for the release of all detained protestors.
Organisation of the Communist Alternative in Iraq