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Promoting Freedom of Speech and Protecting Journalists

Journalists and Politicians Arrested in KRG Crackdown

For Immediate Release- We are reaching out to you on behalf of Shaswar Abdulwahid’s family and friends. On Tuesday, December 19, 2017, in Iraqi Kurdistan, Mr. Abdulwahid, the President of New Generation Movement (Neway Nwe) and former CEO of Nalia Media Institution, was kidnapped by security forces at Sulaimaniyah Airport.

Furthermore, other journalists, politicians, and activists have similarly been arrested by the security forces on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, including Sarkawt Shamsulddin. Mr. Shamsulddin is the Washington correspondent for NRT English and a prominent journalist in the KRG. Additionally, Parliamentarian Raboon Ma’roof was arrested on December 19. We are extremely concerned for their safety and well-being. Since their arrest, there has been no contact with them and their whereabouts are unknown.

Meanwhile, attacks against peaceful demonstrations are occurring throughout the Kurdistan Region, killing several protesters, and leaving many more injured. Protesters who gathered to oppose government corruption were met with violence from state authorities, rather than with dialogue. There is no sign that this unwarranted and brutal crackdown will end without pressure from people and organizations committed to justice and democracy.

In addition, NRT TV was attacked by KRG security forces, who suspended its broadcast and arrested staff. This is a clear and blatant violation of basic human rights and freedom of the press.

We are appealing to you to use your leverage on the Kurdish Authority to (1) end the violence against peaceful demonstrators, (2) ensure a free, unfettered media, and (3) ensure the immediate release of all who who have been unjustly arrested.

Released December 20, 2017 by Kurdistan Aid (KAID)

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