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30-year prison sentence for criticising Kurdish regional president

For immediate release
January 6, 2006

IRAQ

30-year prison sentence for criticising Kurdish regional president in
Internet articles

  Family says cyber-dissident has been on hunger strike for more than a
week

Reporters Without Borders wrote today to the president of the Kurdish
regional government in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, asking him to
intervene in the case of an Austrian citizen of Kurdish origin, Kamal
Sayid Qadir, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison on December 19 for
libelling him in articles posted on the Internet.

  "This incident bodes ill for freedom of expression in Iraq’s Kurdish
region," the press freedom organisation wrote. "We condemn the use of
prison sentences to punish press offences and we are especially shocked
by the length of this sentence, even if Qadir really did libel you. We
therefore hope you will intervene to obtain his release and thereby
show you intend to establish a fair judicial system in your region that
complies with international standards."

  Qadir was arrested on October 26 by members of the Parastin, a
security service operated by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the
region’s two ruling parties. He is currently held in a prison in Erbil,
one of the region’s main cities.

  A lawyer normally based in Vienna, Qadir, 48, is accused of libelling
and insulting Barzani in web articles. He has written dozens of
articles for websites such as Kurdishmedia.com and Kurdistanpost.com in
which he has been very critical of Barzani’s policies. He was
reportedly convicted on the basis of Kurdish customary law and not the
law approved by the regional parliament.

  According to his sister, who lives in Germany, he has been on hunger
strike for more than a week in protest against his conviction.

Contact info:

Lucie Morillon
Reporters Without Borders
Washington Representative
Southern Railway Building
1500 K Street, N.W., Suite 600
Washington DC, 20005
Tel: 202 256 5613
Email: lucie.morillon@rsf.org
Web: www.rsf.org

Tala Dowlatshahi
Representative
917 239 0653
tdowlats@hotmail.com

Todd Lester
New York Communications Officer
917 952 4933
tl_lester@yahoo.com


With Reporters Without Borders, don’t wait to be deprived of news to
stand up and fight for it.


by [a former member] at 2006-01-06 12:16:46 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) New York , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Sheryl:

Thanks for posting that.  Lord knows it probably wont get much play here.  Certainly that is what I fought two wars in the region for, not to mention in Kurdistan itself.  Mission Accomplished, now that we have delivered democracy everyone can forget about Kurdistan.

Thanks for your work

Mike

by Mike Allison | 16 Jan 2006 16:01 | western, United States | | Report spam→

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Mike Allison, Vagabond Mike Allison
Vagabond
(Alive and interested)
Western , United States


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