81 journalists, activists detained in Duhok gone on hunger strike – CPT

Sherwan Sherwani spoke by phone with the CPT

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — More than 80 activists and journalists detained in Duhok last year have gone hunger strike, a watchdog said on Tuesday.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams-Iraqi Kurdistan said it had spoken by phone with journalist Sherwan Sherwani, who has been in prison since February.

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 Sherwani and journalists Guhdar Zebari and Ayaz Karam as well as activists Shvan Omer and Hariwan Issa to six years in jail on national security charges.

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

The CPT said journalist Sherwani had called on people to take action in “solidarity” with the 81 detainees, who have gone on hunger strike.

“He is particularly worried about the situation of his friends who haven’t been tried in court yet and remain in Asayish prison,” it added.

Trials of a dozen activists have been postponed in the past months due to various reasons, including changes in the head and judges of the court.

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