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 Reporters Without Borders wrote to President Barzani to intervene in Dr.Kamal case

 Source : Reporters Without Borders
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Reporters Without Borders wrote to President Barzani to intervene in Dr.Kamal case 9.1.2006

 


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 on 5.January.2006 to the president of the Kurdish regional government in Kurdistan (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 19 December 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.” 

Dr Kamal Said Qadir, Austrian citizen, an international legal expert, writer and human rights activist
Photo: DIHA


Qadir was arrested on 26 October 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.

www.rsf.org  

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