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 Dr. Kamal Sayid Qadir released in Kurdistan today

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Dr. Kamal Sayid Qadir released in Kurdistan today  25.1.2006



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

January 25, 2006

VIENNA, Jan 25, 2006 ,— An Austrian sentenced to 25 years in prison for libel in Iraqi Kurdistan has been released, the Austrian foreign ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

"After being held for more than two months, news of Dr. Kamal Sayid Qadir's release is a great relief and very good news for him and his family," Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said in the statement.

The 48-year old lawyer of Kurdish origin was convicted on December 19 by a court in Erbil in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan for "defamation against the Kurdish government."

He had been arrested in October for writing articles criticising regional president Massoud Barzani.

The human rights organization Reporters without Borders called for Qadir's release,
www.ekurd.net saying "this incident bodes ill for freedom of expression in Iraq's Kurdish region."

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari informed Austrian special envoy to Iraq Gudrun Harrer Wednesday of the lawyer's release.

"This shows that the decision to have Austrian representation in Baghdad was right," Plassnik said.

With Harrer's presence on the ground since January 1, "we can effectively protect the interests of Austria and Austrian citizens," she added.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, AFP


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