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Iraqi Kurdish article criticizes arrest of media figures

BBC Monitoring

Text of article by Awat Ali entitled: "Mr Fatihi and Mr Ferhadi"; published by independent Iraqi Kurdish newspaper Hawlati on 23 September

The incident of the arrest of Mr Fatihi [Tariq Fatih], Hawlati newspaper's concessionaire, at Hawlati headquarters, and the incident of the arrest of Mr Ferhadi at Sulaymaniyah Palace Hotel, were two incidents of arrests at two different times but with two doers and one goal: breaching the precincts of two different parties and places.

The arrest of the first was an insult against and violation of the rights of expression, chiefly because storming the headquarters of a newspaper and arresting its concessionaire inside the headquarters of the newspaper raised question marks over the fate of the freedom of the press in Kurdistan.

But the arrest of the second one, which took place 18 hours after the first incident, was a breach of [insult to] the sovereignty of the government of the police force that stormed Hawlati newspaper premises. As the Kurdish saying goes: There is always one who is more of a despot (more of an oppressor)

We can say that th! e police force implemented the law and had a judge's warrant. However, they committed two breaches against Hawlati newspaper in the process of arresting [Tariq Fatih].

First, Mr Fatihi had received the last notification on 18 September that he had to appear at Rizgari Police Station within three days. But before the deadline came to an end - namely, on 19 September - the police arrested Tariq Fatih.

The second breach of the [Kurdistan] Regional Government's police force [KRG] was that they snatched and took away the camera of a Hawlati reporter who wanted to video Hawlati's concessionaire while he was being arrested. One of the policemen then said: "We are not jinns, for you to film us." We tell that respectable policeman: "No, you are human beings, just like us, but as you are doing your job, we are also doing our job. And we do not feel angry about what you did because we know that your sensitivity towards independent journalists and cameras is something has ! already been done by those senior to you and you just follow suit."

If we talk about the second arrest incident, which is the second time that such an incident has taken place in Kurdistan, and formerly the Americans had kidnapped some Iranians in Arbil, we find out once again that our government and our region do not enjoy sovereignty.

The reaction of the [Kurdistan] Region's Presidency, instead of rejecting such an act and asking for the formation of a committee to investigate the incident and to ask the Americans to provide an explanation, "asks for the release of Mr Ferhadi" instead of saying: "This act is illegal and it is not in the interest of any party."

We, too, know that it is illegal, but it is the second time that such an incident has taken place. What will they do to prevent it from taking place again?

Regardless of whether or not Mr Ferhadi was a member of a trade delegation, or whether he was a spy or a normal citizen, if he needed to be arrested, the Americans should have commissioned the KRG to arrest ! him because security in Kurdistan has been handed over to the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Source: Hawlati, Sulaymaniyah, in Sorani Kurdish 23 Sep 07 p3



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