80 prisoners including activists gone on hunger strike in Erbil – observer

Iraq, Kurdistan, Erbil, Shar park and Qaysari Bazaars

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — At least 80 prisoners including five activists who were detained in Duhok have gone on a hunger strike at Asayish prison in Erbil, an observer said on Monday.

Ayhan Saeed, human rights observer and a representative for Badinan detainees, cited a source at the Asayish directorate as saying that five activists who have been “kidnapped” for over a year along with 75 other prisoners had gone on a hunger strike.

The activists were detained in Duhok province nearly a year and three months ago due to “different opinion and participation in protests”, Saeed said in a letter he directed to UNAMI, lawmakers and international organizations.

The activists included Mahmoud Naji, Amjad Yousif, Nechirvan Badi’, Yousif Sharif, and Kovan Tariq, who have yet to be tried, Saeed added.

The other 75 detainees include activists and officials of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) who have been in custody for over three years, according to the observer.

“Part of the prisoners had told UNAMI and the independent human rights commission that there was no evidence on us and we were detained on criticism and different opinion against the KDP,” Saeed cited the activists as saying.

“We were recorded under torture, which is illegal and immoral.”

The Kurdish observer called on the United Nations, representatives of other countries in the Region, lawmakers and the independent human rights commission as well as the organizations to “work seriously to free all the prisoners imprisoned unrightfully”.

Kurdish security forces detained dozens of journalists and activists in Duhok in 2020 over espionage and allegedly undermining national security in the Kurdistan Region.

Seventy-seven out of 82 detainees have been held in detention centers of the general directorate of Asayish in Erbil without been tried for over a year, according to the committee of rights and freedoms in Kurdistan and Europe.

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