On Tuesday, Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmed, a member of the Executive Board of PUK's Political Bureau, visited the families of the detained activists and journalists of Badinan region, who were recently tried and sentenced to 6 years in prison which received great public condemnation.
During her visits, and after listening to the children and families of the detainees as they talked about the conditions and circumstances of their loved ones' arrests and how they waited for them for months, Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmed expressed her displeasure with the decision of the Erbil court, confirming the support and stand of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), pointing out that the arrests are an ordeal for everyone, hoping that the Kurdistan Regional Court of Cassation will review their files.
For their part, the families expressed their thanks for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's attention to their situation.
Erbil Second Court of First Instance in the Kurdistan region sentenced five journalists and civil activists last Tuesday to six years in prison each for their role in anti-government demonstrations last year, their lawyer said.
The five men were arrested in October following protests over delayed salaries for public school teachers, defense lawyer Aso Hashem told AFP.
They were charged with "inciting protests against the government and destabilizing the region", he said.
The Erbil court's decision received international criticism as the US consulate general in Erbil made an announcement following the incident saying: "We have followed closely the recent detentions of journalists and activists and the subsequent trials".
Adding: "The U.S. has consistently engaged on the issue of freedom of expression, including for members of the press, with KRG officials and will continue to do so. Democratic societies respect freedom and expression and support the ability of press members to report without fear of retaliation."
And for its part the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)'s Middle East representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado said that the decision was "not only unfair and disproportionate, but it also proves that the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government has finally dropped the pretense of caring about press freedom".