New York, March 22, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the detention and prosecution of a Kurdish journalist, who was seized by Kurdish security forces in northern Iraq. On March 17, security forces affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) arrested Hawez Hawezi, a 31-year-old high school teacher who also writes for the independent Kurdish weekly Hawlati, at his home in Koya, near the city of Arbil, the newspaper’s managing editor Peshwaz Faizulla told CPJ.
Faizulla said the agents assaulted Hawezi while driving him to a detention facility in the city of Sulaymaniyah. The journalist was released on bail March 19 after being questioned by an investigating judge. The judge told the journalist he faced unspecified defamation charges for a recent article criticizing local Kurdish authorities, the editor said. In a column in the March 15 edition of Hawlati, Hawezi criticized the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the two main political parties in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region. The article accused both parties of governing northern Iraq badly, referring to them as Pharaohs. It called for new leadership in Iraqi Kurdistan.
"We call on the authorities to dismiss this case at once," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. "Rather than pursue a journalist for doing his job the Kurdish authorities would do well to investigate those who assaulted our colleague Hawez Hawezi. Such arbitrary and heavy-handed treatment of the press by Kurdish authorities shows that their reputation for tolerance of free media is undeserved.”
PUK spokesman Azad Jundyany told CPJ that Hawezi had been detained by Kurdish security agents and faced trial for defamation. He said the PUK supported the due process of the courts in the case. "We oppose the imprisonment of journalists for what they write, or for expressing their opinions," he said in a telephone interview from Iraq. "But there is writing and there is insult. There is a difference between the two," he said. When asked what penalties Hawezi might face in court he said, “probably face a small fine."
At least one Kurdish writer is in jail for his work in northern Iraq. Kamal Karim is currently serving a 30-year sentence for defamation after he was convicted in December by a state security court of defaming public institutions. Karim, an Austrian citizen, has been in detention since he was arrested on October 26, 2005 in Arbil by the Parastin, the security intelligence service of the ruling KDP. He had published articles on Kurdistanpost, an independent Kurdish news Web site, criticizing the KDP and its leader Masoud Barzani, whom he accused of corruption and abuse of power. Barzani is also president of the Kurdistan Region. Karim is appealing the verdict.
Kurdish military forces detain journalist in Iraqi Kurdistan
July 29, 2019 1:15 PM ET
Beirut, July 29, 2019 -- Kurdish Peshmerga forces should immediately disclose any charges against journalist Zuber Bradosti or else release him from custody, the Committee to Protect Journalist said today....
Armed men raid offices of Iraqi broadcaster and newspaper following corruption investigation
July 2, 2019 11:50 AM ET
Beirut, July 2, 2019 -- Iraqi authorities should investigate the armed raid against the Baghdad offices of Al-Journal and 7C TV and determine if the perpetrators were acting on behalf of a member of parliament, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today....
Journalist detained for weeks in Iraqi Kurdistan, accused of anti-state acts
February 21, 2019 11:32 AM ET
Beirut, February 21, 2019--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the prolonged detention without charge of freelance journalist Sherwan Amin Sherwani by Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq and called for his immediate release....
Security forces detain TV crews and shut down broadcaster's office in Iraqi Kurdistan
January 28, 2019 11:21 AM ET
Beirut, January 28, 2019--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the closure by Kurdish security forces of the Iraqi independent broadcaster NRT's office in Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, and urged the Kurdish regional government to immediately allow NRT to resume its work....
Syrian military intelligence arrests Syrian Kurdish journalist at checkpoint
September 5, 2018 3:45 PM ET
Beirut, September 5, 2018 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Syrian authorities to immediately release Omar Kalo, a news anchor for the Iraqi Kurdish satellite news broadcaster Rudaw....