Ten Correspondents and E-Agency Manager Arrested by KRG Security


Since last Friday night, the security services in the Kurdistan region continue their clampdown of arresting 11 journalists until the moment of issuing this statement. This coincides with the errupting of demonstrations on Saturday in the cities of the region, where the number of detainees from the press family are five reporters working for the NRT channel, four reporters from the “Westga News” Foundation, and another reporter working for the KNN satellite channel in Erbil, in addition to the Manager of Kurdish News Agency.

The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq learned from its coordinator in Kurdistan that the arrest of the “NRT” correspondent in Dohouk, “Sabah Sufi” took place by the Asayish hours ago, while he was heading to “Sheikhan” district in Dohuk, after leaving his home for fear of being arrested.  The security forces in the region arrested the Manager of the channel’s office in Dohuk “Taif Gorran” and the reporter “Periyar Niroi” on Friday, in front of the channel’s office.

He added that the security forces also arrested the channel’s correspondents, namely “Diyar Mohammed and Soran Mohammed” while covering the demonstrations of Jamjamal in Erbil, on Saturday evening, noting that another security force arrested the correspondent of the “KNN” Ayoub Warti from his home on Saturday morning, the second arrest of its kind.

In Sulaymaniyah, as demonstrations calling for reform and the elimination of corruption in the region errupted, the Asayish arrested four journalists from Westga News (Sirwan Gharib, Arkan Jabbar, Zaniar Marwan, and Hivar Hiwa) while covering demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah on Saturday evening.

The coordinator of the association in the region said that other security elements arrested the Manager of the “Kurdish News” website that is owned by MP Sarwa Abdul Wahid, and remained in the custody of the security services till the moment of writing this statement.

The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq lays a close eye on the journalists in the region and expresses its grave concern about the escalating violence against them, the use of dictatorial and criminal means, the muzzling of mouths, and their harassment by arresting or detaining them, to prevent them from conveying events to the public opinion.

The association considers these violations to be the most heinous that can be imposed upon media workers by the authorities in the region, after violating all the principles of the Constitution, which guaranteed the freedom of journalistic work and expression of opinion in the country.

The Association calls once again that the federal government pays attention to the state of affairs of journalists in the region, and to pressure the president of the region, to release the detained colleagues and that the  Prime Minister steps out of  his suspicious silence, and to fulfill his promises once made to all journalists immediately after being in power.

The association also appeals to the national and international organizations to support the wavering democracy in Iraq, intervene to save journalists from malicious claims by which the regional government intimidates journalists, writers and opinion makers, and prevent the fate of detainees from being the same as that of their colleagues who were accused by the Kurdish judiciary of espionage and spying and were sentenced to prison terms of various periods.

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