Erbil court delays trial of five activists for second time

File – A man holds a picture of some journalists detained by security forces in the Kurdistan Region

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — A court in Erbil postponed for the second time a trial of five activists who were detained in Duhok province last year, a lawyer said on Tuesday.

The trial was scheduled to be held on Tuesday morning, but Erbil criminal court-2 delayed it until further notice.

The activists included Amr Khalid Agid, Firsat Ahmed Saeed, Jamal Khalil Majid, Sleman Kamal Sleman and Sleman Musa Ahmed.

A lawyer of the defendants told reporters that the witnesses who were brought to give testimonies spoke in the interest of the activists during the trial.

The four activists are accused of supporting and working for Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and of creating contacts with civil organizations in Iraq, according to their lawyers.

Their first trial was delayed on July 5.

On Monday, a trial of activists Masoud Shangali, Bandawar Ayub Rashid, Kargar Abbas Ali and Sherwan Taha Amin was also postponed until further notice.

Lawyer Bashdar Hassan told reporters that the trial was delayed because “the judges had cases related to drugs, and didn’t have time to see this case”.

Activist Omed Baroshki and teacher Badal Barwari are set to appear in court on July 29.

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

In February, Erbil criminal court sentenced journalists Sherwan Sherwani, Guhdar Zebari and Ayaz Karam as well as activists Shvan Omer and Hariwan Issa to six years in prison on national security charges.

Their lawyers presented appeals twice to the court of appellate, but they were rejected.

According to lawyer Bashdar Hassan, there are still 35 more activists whose cases are still at the directorate of Asayish (security).

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