Last Update 22:17
Friday, 15 November 2019

Outcry after Iraqi Kurdish reporter jailed

An Iraqi Kurdish reporter is to spend two years in jail, not for his articles, but for his work at airport's VIP lounge, according to Kurdish authorities

AFP , Monday 8 Oct 2012
Views: 978
Views: 978


Press freedoms groups and relatives of an Iraqi Kurdish journalist jailed for two years for allegedly harming national security insisted on Monday he was being targeted for writing critical reports.

The sentence against Karzan Karim was handed down on Sunday in a closed session at the main criminal court in the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil, with family members and media rights organisations complaining that no specifics were given of the charges against him.

Kurdish authorities insist that the accusations relate to his work at Arbil airport's VIP lounge, and not to any of his published articles.

"The trial took place in a closed session, we were not allowed to enter the hall, and I did not even seen Karzan until the verdict," Kamran Karim, the accused's brother, told AFP on Monday.

Niaz Abdullah, the head of Kurdish press freedoms group Metro, said the organisation had "major concerns over this decision, and its impact on the future of journalists in Kurdistan."

As well as working at Arbil airport, Karim wrote articles under a pseudonym for the Kurdistan Post website detailing accusations of corruption and nepotism at the airport.

In a statement on its website on August 8, the autonomous Kurdistan region, made up of three provinces in north Iraq, said the charges against him were "based on his conduct as an officer of the region’s security agency" but gave no specifics.

It dismissed criticism that the accusations were related to Karim's reports, arguing that "there are hundreds of articles published daily in Kurdistan that are critical of the authorities and the leadership without any fear of retribution."

Though widely seen as enjoying greater security and freedoms than the rest of Iraq, the Kurdish region has frequently been criticised for clamping down on media rights, with Paris-based Reporters Without Borders earlier this year pointing to a wave of violations against media rights in Kurdistan.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.