PUK member confessed under ‘torture’, says party office

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SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) office in Duhok said the party’s member who was sentenced to jail was confessed under “torture”.

Duhok court sentenced member of PUK office in Darkare Mala Nazir and member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Nimat Gunes to seven years in prison over links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PUK and HDP members were detained in Duhok province seven months ago.

“The decision made by Duhok court against one of our members was far from the legal and judicial principles because he was confessed under torture,” the PUK office said in a statement on Sunday.

“The security forces beat and tortured Mala Nazir and other detainees of Badinan to confess, and that is the opposite of the human rights principles,” it added.

Both PUK and HDP members were accused of “trading and spying” for the PKK in the Kurdistan Region, according to Mala Nazir’s daughter and an HDP representative.

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 Shirwan Sherwani and 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.

As many as 77 other activists are also detained pending trial at detention centers in Erbil.

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.

The journalists and activists have gone on hunger strike in the Erbil detentions, according to rights watchdogs.

The committee of rights and freedoms in Kurdistan and Europe said 82 journalists and activists had been on hunger strike for over 12 days.

“Their condition is at risk now,” the committee said on Saturday.

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