Sayid Qadir is a Kurdish writer who has Austrian
citizenship. He was reportedly abducted in October
2005 while on a visit to the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
Mr. Qadir was said to have been taken by the
Parastin, the security service of the Kurdistan
Democratic Party, or K-D-P, one of the two parties
holding power in northern Iraq. He is believed to
have been seized because of articles he published on
The Internet that were critical of the K-D-P,
including its leader Massoud Barzani.
Amnesty International, an independent human rights
monitoring group, reports that Mr. Qadir was
sentenced on December 19th to thirty years
imprisonment for "defamation" in connection with two
internet articles criticizing the K-D-P leadership.
The sentence was handed down by a state security
court in the city of Irbil. But the proceedings,
according to Amnesty International, fell "far short"
of a fair trial.
Mr. Qadir was reportedly told about the trial only a
few minutes before it began, and was represented by
a court-appointed lawyer he had never met before.
The trial lasted one hour, and the judge passed
sentence once Mr. Qadir confirmed that he was the
author of the internet articles in question.
Freedom of expression, a key element of democracy,
was non-existent in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's
rule. It has generally flourished since his removal
from power. More than two-hundred Iraqi newspapers
and magazines are in circulation, private radio and
television stations are on the air, and numerous
political parties compete in elections. Unlike
during the Saddam Hussein era, rulings barring
freedom of speech, as in Kamal Sayid Qadir’s case,
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said,
"The free flow of ideas is the lifeline of liberty."
The jailing of people for their political views has
no place in Iraq's new democracy. "In the long run,"
says President George W. Bush, "there is no justice
without freedom, and there can be no human rights
without human liberty."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the
views of the United States Government.
U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice has said, "The free flow of ideas
is the lifeline of liberty." The jailing of people
for their political views has no place in Iraq's new
Photo: White House
Dr Kamal Said Qadir, Austrian citizen, an
international legal expert, writer and human rights