Germany welcomes the release of several Badinan detainees

Kurdistan 05:23 PM - 2021-10-23

The German Consulate in Erbil welcomed the release of several of Badinan detainees, pointing out that it is closely following their trial sessions.

"We welcome that this week’s Badinan verdicts ended a more than year-long uncertainty for many of the defendants. With UN & EU, 🇩🇪 closely observed the trials," the German consulate said in a tweet.

"Concerns re rule of law, particularly duration of pre-trial detention, access to lawyers & denied family visits remain," it added.

Last Thursday, Erbil Court decided to release some of the Badinan activists and journalists who have been in prison for over a year.

The defense team for Badinan detainees said during a press conference that the court has sentenced each "Amir Khaled, Kamal Suleiman, Jamal Khalil and Firsat Ahmed to one year in prison, but because over a year had passed since their imprisonment, they were released."

Last Wednesday, the court released Badal Barwari, who was also arrested more than a year ago in a demonstration for teachers in Duhok governorate.

Over a dozen of journalists and activists from Duhok (Badinan regions) are currently detained in Erbil for various charges including, organizing protests, spying for foreign diplomatic missions, sending sensitive information to foreign entities, and cooperating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which are seen by the local community and the outside world as unfair and a clear violation of the freedom of speech.

The trials of Badinan detainees left local and international echoes and a wave of condemnation and anger, as well as serious doubts about the independence of the judiciary in the Kurdistan Region.

The previous 5 Badinan journalists and activists' cases 

On 28 April, the Kurdistan Region's Court of Appeal in Erbil upheld the six-year prison sentence against Badinan activists and journalists, Sherwan Sherwani, Guhdar Zebari, Hariwan Issa, Ayaz Karam, and Shvan Saeed who were arrested in October 2020. 

The court ratified the decision last June and closed the case. In its ruling, the court rejected the defendants’ claims of torture and other ill-treatment, citing lack of evidence, while confirming the charges brought against the five activists and journalists include spying for the USA, Britain, and Germany, sending sensitive information to foreign entities and cooperating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).  

The court's decision straight away resulted in condemnations locally and by foreign countries and international organizations. The US, Germany, UK, and Canada condemned the decision of the court regarding the imprisonment of journalists and activists in Duhok.  

Furthermore, international organizations, such as CPJ, and International Organization of Freedom and Human Rights, and Amnesty International that advocate journalists' rights and freedom of expression also condemned the court's decision. Political parties in the Kurdistan Region including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Goran, also said they viewed the verdict as an attack on freedom of expression.


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