Mastura Mahmood, 25, a journalist for the women’s weekly paper Rewan, faces trial on two separate defamation charges brought by the director of the Halabja Monument, Ibrahim Hawrami, and the general directorate of the security forces.
The charges stem from an article Mahmood wrote on March 16 to commemorate the 1988 Halabja poison gas attack on the Kurds by ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Mahmood interviewed a girl demonstrating in Halabja and quoted her as saying that the security forces in the town were behaving in exactly the same way as Saddam’s Baathist party members had done. She was summoned to the Halabja police station on May 2, where she was arrested and released on bail. No trial date has been set.
CPJ has documented four other cases of criminal prosecution in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region.
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