Erbil court delays hearings on cases of five activists to October – lawyers

File – The Presidency Appellate Court in Erbil

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Another trial on cases of five more activists who were detained in Duhok last year was delayed until next month, their lawyers said on Wednesday.

Erbil Criminal Court-2 was scheduled to hold hearings on the cases of university teacher Amir Khalid, Peshmerga veteran Sleman Kamal, teacher Sleman Musa, teacher Jamal Khalil and engineer Firsat Amjad on Wednesday morning.

The court, however, delayed the first trial until October 6 due to changes in posts of the head and judges of the court, according to the detainees’ lawyers.

The five activists were arrested in accordance with Article 1 of Law No. 21 of 2003, which states that “anybody who deliberately or gets involved in an act that undermines security, stability and sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region’s security institutions will be given life imprisonment or temporary imprisonment”.

“The court was filled with armed forces and they did not their families to see them” the detainees’ families said outside the court.

On Monday, the Erbil court also postponed hearings of four other activists who were accused of undermining security of the Kurdistan Region.

Lawyer Bashdar Hassan said the trial was delayed due to “changes made in the posts of the head and two other judges of the court, who have not read the cases” of the detainees.

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

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