One night in October 2020, the police stormed the house of Shafan Saeed, where he was beaten in front of his family, according to what his brother told the French Press Agency in Kurdistan (northern Iraq). Over the past two months.
Ihan Saeed, 27, says he has not received any news of his brother, 36, who is active in an opposition party in Chiladze. Read also Killing, arresting and displacement .. Why did Iraq not benefit from its nuclear scientists, and what happened to them?After the Tarawih prayers … 8 Palestinians were arrested inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Hundreds of Islamists arrested in Bangladesh The Israeli occupation forces suppressed and arrested worshipers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque
Human Rights Watch said in a recent statement that “after two months, Shafan Saeed was allowed to contact his wife and tell her that he had (Al-Ashayes) security forces in the Kurdistan Region, in Erbil.”
Saeed appeared before a judge on February 16, where he was sentenced to six years in prison for “destabilizing the Kurdistan region.”
Activist Hariwan Issa and journalists Ayaz Karam Brushki, Kohdar Muhammad Zebari and Sherwan Sherwani, editor-in-chief of the Bashour Monthly Magazine, were also convicted in the same case, and sentenced to the same penalty.
“Human Rights Watch” said that their trial took place “without being allowed to see their lawyer during the investigations and interrogation sessions,” while the international affairs advisor in the Kurdistan Regional Government, Dindar Zebari, stated in a letter to CPJ that the detainees “were able to contact lawyers.” “The appeal is under way,” he added, “The Kurdistan Regional Government does not interfere in the judicial procedures.”
The five convicts were arrested after the outbreak of protests against the Kurdistan Regional Government and the main political parties in the region in different cities late last year; Due to a major financial crisis that caused delays in public sector salaries and cuts to salaries.
Sherwan Sherwani is known for his investigations into corruption. He criticized the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region, Masrour Barzani, on his Facebook page, before he was arrested at his home on October 7, “without a legal reason or a judicial order,” according to Kurdish activists.
For his part, the head of the Human Rights Commission of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Dia Boutros, affirmed that “the security services cannot arrest a person without an order issued by the competent court.” He acknowledged that “some members of the security forces deal roughly, sometimes amounting to beating or insulting.”
Sherwani’s lawyer said that the latter was unable to stand during the trial due to an injury sustained by him. Advertising
“Human Rights Watch” quoted the lawyer as saying that his client accused the “Asayish” of threatening to rape his wife and mother if he did not sign the confession, adding that “the judge was not affected by these allegations.”
Two other activists, the teacher Badal Barwari, who has been detained since August 2020 for joining the protests in Dohuk, and the journalist Omid Hajji, are still in detention, despite their case being returned to the investigative judge for lack of evidence, while the prosecution is gathering more evidence.
Human Rights Watch researcher Belkis Wali describes the trials in the Kurdistan region as “flawed,” and noted that “the recent convictions will exacerbate the deterioration of the reputation of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as a place where people face unfair criminal trials simply for criticizing government policies that they object to, or Express their concerns about the political elites. “
After the demonstrations last year that killed 8 protesters, some of them teenagers, their families are still waiting for justice to be done in their case. There are 74 political detainees in the prisons of the Security Directorate in Erbil and Dohuk, according to Karzan Fadel, head of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights Development in Sulaymaniyah.
Lawyers for the convicts on February 16 told Human Rights Watch that “they were not allowed access to the case files before the trial.”
Masrour Barzani accused, at a press conference, some of the detainees of being “spies” of other countries, and others of being “saboteurs.”
Human Rights Watch confirmed that an Asayish member provided a photo that Sherwani had posted on social media, commenting that flights between Turkey and Kurdistan, which had been suspended for some time, had been resumed, and considered this evidence that Sherwani was a spy.