IRAQI KURDISTAN: The Trials of Masoud Ali, Sherwan Taha, Karger Abas, and Bandawar Ayoub

“I don’t know why I was arrested,” Masoud Ali told the judge. He stood in a cage in the courtroom in Erbil, having already spent almost 14 months in prison and suffered four postponed court dates. Bandawar Ayoub, Sherwan Taha, and Karger Abas, the other three men with him, gave similar responses when asked. They had never been sentenced before and didn’t know why they were arrested. “We were not a part of KDP, and that is why they arrested us,” guessed Ali.

Prayers for Peacemakers 3 November 2021 Iraqi Kurdistan

We offer gratitude that six of the 81 Badinan Activists were recently released after being sentenced to a year in prison on unjustified criminal charges in a trial in the Criminal Court in Erbil. Badal Bawari, Dr. Aamer Khalid, Fersat Ahmed, Sleman Kamal, Jamal Khalil Majeed, and Sleman Mousa were convicted and sentenced to one year in prison and subsequently released as they had already been detained for over one year.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Statement on the Sentencing of Badal Barwari and Omed Barushky

On Tuesday 19 October 2021, Badal Barwari and Omed Barushky were sentenced to one year in prison, accused of encouraging people to join violent demonstrations and charged under Article 222 of the Iraqi Penal Code (Law No.111 of 1969). They received time served, and Barwari expects to be released on 26 November.  Barushky will remain in prison for other charges related to Article 2 of Law No 6 (2008) to Prevent the Misuse of Telecommunications Equipment.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Statement Condemning the Turkish Military Bombings on Civilian Areas in Shengal

In early August 2021, the Turkish Armed Forces attacked civilian areas twice in Shengal (Sinjar), Iraq, killing four civilians and injuring at least 13 more. Shengal is the Yezidi territory that ISIS brutally attacked and controlled after the security forces fled the area in 2014. The Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ), with predominantly Yezidi membership, was established to fight ISIS after its assault in 2014. YBŞ controls security in much of the area and is now an official part of the Iraqi Army. They have close ties to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) after receiving support in the fight against ISIS.

Iraqi Kurdistan courts accuse Badinan activists of conducting espionage for Foreign Governments

Civil society in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is experiencing a crackdown on freedom of expression; security forces have incarcerated an alarming amount of civil rights activists and journalists. Since August 2020, an estimated 76 journalists, activists and teachers from the Badinan region have been arrested by security forces and imprisoned in Erbil. On 12 and 13 July, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) observed the trials for nine Badinan activists who were arrested in 2020 on charges of endangering national security and committing acts of espionage. They have been awaiting trial for almost a year.
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