Feb 14, 2010
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory condemns the arrest of journalists in the city of Duhok, Kurdistan region, on charges of defamation and insult to religion, at the first of this month.
The city police have arrested Abdul Rahman Bamrni, chief editor, and Hoshing Sheikh Mohammed, writer, of (Jafder) weekly newspaper.
On the background of publishing a poem talks about the domes and mosques wrote by Sheikh Mohammed with a description that the clerics considered as an abuse of Islam, at a time when clerics attacked the writer of that poem in their Friday speeches.
Abdul Rahman Bamrni, chief editor of (Jafder) weekly newspaper said that the poem was “explained by some people in a wrong way”.
According to the (Metro Center for defending the Journalists), located in Sulaimaneya city, Journalistic Freedoms Observatory’s acting partner, the journalists were arrested on charges of defamation and insult to religion, and spent three days in (Zarka) prison by Duhok’s court of offences order based on a lawsuit filed against them by a group of religious scholars in Duhok.
The journalists were charged according to Article (372) of the Iraqi Penal Code, before being released on bail after three days of detention. According to this article, if convicted, the two journalists would face up to three years duration of imprisonment or a fine.
(Jafder) is a weekly newspaper, issued by issued by the Office of the democratic organizations of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Duhok.
The Kurdistan region is witnessing repeated attacks against journalists. Last year about 70 cases of beatings and arrests, 35 cases of assaults and 35 different lawsuits filed by local officials against independent media people.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory show strong dissatisfaction of repeated and continues arrests of journalists in Iraq’s Kurdistan region with the clear restrictions, the Observatory calls the region's government to deal with journalists, according to the law of the press, approved by the regional parliament in September of 2008, which prohibits the arrest or imprisonment of journalist on the background of his publications.