Please pray for a fair appeal process for Sherwan Sherwani, Eyaz Karam, Shivan Saeed, Hariwan Essa and Guhdar Zebari. They were unjustly sentenced to six-year prison terms on 16 February and have been on a hunger strike since then.
Please pray for the release of more than 20 journalists and civil rights activists from the Badinan region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Some have been held in government prisons for more than six months for reporting on corruption in the political parties, advocating for civil rights and participating in nonviolent protests.
Sherwan Sherwani, Eyaz Karam, Shivan Saeed, Hariwan Essa and Guhdar Zebari are well-known and respected independent journalists and activists. Powerful voices from within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are punishing them for denouncing corruption and civil rights advocacy. A court sentenced them to six-year prison terms as “spies” for speaking to international organizations and the United States Consulate General about the human rights situation in Iraqi Kurdistan. The court also ruled against them for allegedly “planning violent acts against national security” through their journalism work and participating in nonviolent protests. During the trial, Sherwan told CPT-IK members that he was tortured. To protest the court’s injustice, the five have been on a hunger strike for six weeks.
The KRG has arrested several dozen civil rights activists in Badinan in 2020. Their families worry about their future. When they tried to gather to ask for their release, the security forces detained them and forced them to sign pledges of silence.
To learn more about the Badinan journalists and activists’ trial, read CPT-IK’s report.
Consider taking action for justice and send an email to your government’s diplomatic office in Iraq or Kurdistan.
Thank you for your prayers and support.