Saadi Ahmed Pira, member of the political bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said on Saturday that prisons are not a place for journalists, pointing out that the region needs an administration that works within the framework of the constitution.
In a press conference, Pira said: "The Kurdistan Region needs an administration that works within the framework of the constitution, an administration away from prisons, torture, and pursuit," explaining that all martyrs and strugglers dreamed of a region far from the power of oppression, but rather to work for building and reconstruction.
"Prisons are set up for murderers, thieves, and corrupt individuals. Prisons are not a place for journalists and people of free opinion," he said.
The decision of the Kurdistan Region's Court of Appeal to approve the imprisonment of the 5 journalists and activists of the Badinan region, has sparked many condemnation and anger at various levels, in a way that puts the region’s reputation under accountability, especially since the detainees were "convicted" for visits they made to official international consulates that operate in Erbil.
Three judges out of 5 approved the ruling, which 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. U.S., Germany, Canada, and France condemned the court's rule in different statements.
Last February, five journalists and activists ( Sherwan Sherwani, Shvan Saeed, Ayaz Karam, Hariwan Issa, and Guhdar Zebari) from the Badinan region of the Kurdistan Region were put on trial and were sentenced to six years in prison. They were charged with "inciting protests against the government and destabilizing the region."
According to their lawyer, the five journalists were arrested in October last year for having a role in anti-government demonstrations.
On April 28, the Court of Appeal in the Kurdistan Region had once again approved the imprisonment of journalists and activists in Badinan for 6 years, despite local and international objections and denunciations.