Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) are concerned about the health conditions of the imprisoned Badinan Kurdish civil activists held at prisons in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan after they went on hunger strike to protest against the KRG Chief Public Prosecutor’s decision to halt their conditional release, which was expected in May this year.
The five activists were joined in their hunger strike by ten other Badinan prisoners and 42 other prisoners at the Erbil Prison on 21 July as they all protested against the KRG Chief Public Prosecutor’s decision to halt their conditional release, which was expected in May this year.
“CPT has concerns for the health and well-being of all prisoners in the hunger strike, particularly Amjad Yousif,” CPT said. “He contracted Hepatitis C during his incarceration and has since been denied access to adequate hospital care, with only basic medicine provided for his condition.”
“In observing the judicial process surrounding these cases, CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team is worried about the interference of the higher political power above the judiciary system and its impact on justice and the independence of the judges in Iraqi Kurdistan,” it added.
“We are prisoners of conscience in the Kurdistan region as we have defended the freedom of speech, civil liberties, and standing against the Turkish occupation and bombardments,” the prisoners on hunger strike in Erbil prison wrote on Thursday in a letter, a copy of which has been sent to The New Arab (TNA).
“We have started a hunger strike since the Kurdistan region’s general prosecution is not ready to admit to our legal right of conditional release according to Article 331 of Iraq’s Criminal Procedure Code. There is partisan interference in the judiciary affairs in order to deprive us of our right of being released after we have completed almost two-thirds of our terms.”
Ayhan Saeed, the representative of Erbil province prisoners, also told TNA on Thursday that the prisoners’ health conditions are getting worse as they also refuse to receive medical treatment.
“Those journalists and activists have served two-thirds of their terms so they should have been freed a month ago.” Saeed said and added. “The general attorney initially agreed to free them yet as per a phone call by the KRI top officials, the Kurdistan judiciary halted releasing the inmates.”
In January 2019, a series of demonstrations took place in the Badinan area of Erbil province in protest of the killing of four people and the disappearance of two others in the Turkish bombing in the Deraluk area.
Hundreds of other protesters were arrested by the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC) after a series of anti-government protests emerged in Erbil in 2020.