Further charge lain against imprisoned journalist Guhdar Zebari

Imprisoned journalist Guhdar Zebari (file)

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SULAIMANI — Bashdar Hassan, head of the defense team for imprisoned journalist Guhdar Zebari, said on Wednesday (December 1) another charge has been filed against his client after a firearm was allegedly found in his vehicle.

Hassan said Zebari was brought in front of the judge of Erbil Asayish’s investigative court.

The lawyer said Zebari has denied the accusation and quoted him as saying, "I am not a hunter and I don’t have an enemy, my only weapon is a pen.”

Hassan said this recent case is related to several remarks and messages from Zebari in prison which have been published.

On October 22, Zebari wrote in a letter sent from his prison cell that he and other journalists and activists are behind bars because they dared to speak out about corrupt leaders in the Kurdistan Region.

In the letter, he argued powerful individuals have sought to frighten the people of Duhok and Erbil governorates into submission but have failed in their efforts.

After being arrested in October 2020 in Duhok by security forces affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Zebari was controversially sentenced to six years in prison during a trial in February that raised numerous concerns about the Kurdistan Region’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law.

Journalists Sherwan Sherwani and Ayaz Karam and activists Hariwan Issa and Shvan Saeed were also convicted and sentenced during the same trial, which drew heavy domestic and international criticism for violations of basic due process, such as, denying the defendants access to their lawyers.

Zebari remains in the custody of the Asayish, while the four others were transferred to Erbil Reform Prison on September 9.

(NRT Digital Media)