Amnesty International: Kurdistan Arbitrarily Arrested Over 100 Individuals in Duhok

Published June 16th, 2021 - 12:17 GMT
100s of people in Iraq's Kurdistan were arbitrarily arrested
Eight of the arrested people confessed and claimed they exposed torture in jail. (Shutterstock)
Amnesty International's report shows Kurdistan arbitrarily arrested hundreds of people in 2020.

Amnesty International recently shared a report on the Kurdistan region in Iraq describing the arbitrary detaining of hundreds of people who protested in 2020 calling for an end to corruption and better public services.

According to the organization, the crackdown on protesters started in March 2020 and then it was intensified in August. Till this day it is expected that 14 people are still behind bars.

Amnesty has asked the Kurdish authorities to respect freedom of speech and peaceful protests. It also asked to free remaining people from jails and provide information about people who disappeared during that period. 

“Authorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have launched a chilling crackdown in their efforts to silence critics over the past year. They have rounded up activists and journalists and are prosecuting them on trumped-up charges in unfair trials, harassing or intimidating family members who were kept in the dark about the status of their loved ones,” according to the Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, Lynn Maalouf.

A German user took it to Twitter to denounce the ruthless attacks on journalists, activists and protesters exercising their right to freedom of expression. Furthermore, she announced her support for people who face arbitrary arrest and forcibly disappear; she added: “I hope there is solidarity for that too.”

Another User slammed the Kurdistan Democratic Party ‘KDP’ system suggesting that authorities there do not care anymore about human rights reports.

Amnesty International’s data shows that out of 14 people still under arrest; 5 had been sentenced in unfair trials which was based on confessions under duress; while the other 6 were forcibly disappeared.

The human rights organization said that all of them were held incommunicado for up to 5 months and at least 6 forcibly disappeared for periods of up to 12 weeks. 
Eight of the arrested people confessed and claimed they were exposed to torture or otherwise ill-treatment during jail time. On 16 February 2021, five of them were sentenced to six years in prison based on “confessions” extracted under duress.

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