Security forces under Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) arrested journalist Omed Baroshki on Thursday night, his lawyer Ayhan Seid told reporters.
Baroshki was taken into custody after speaking to reporters on Thursday about a prison sentence issued to his colleague, journalist Sherwan Sherwani.
In his statement, Baroshki was critical of the KDP, and accused the ruling Barzani family of silencing dissent.
“This four-year sentence is a decision by [KRG Prime Minister] Masrour Barzani. You cannot run a country with the mind of a police and soldier,” Baroshki said. “Today they silence opposition voices in Behdinan. Tomorrow they will silence you. We must all take to the streets against these unlawful rulings.”
Baroshki was previously arrested in 2020 during anti-government protests in the region.
Sherwani has been in prison since the 2020 protests, alongside four other journalists. The journalist was serving a prison sentence for undermining national security, but was scheduled for release in two months.
Baroshki told reporters on the day of Sherwani’s new conviction that the charges were trumped up to keep the journalist behind bars.
The new charges against Sherwani are for forgery of a legal document, which his lawyer maintains is not backed by evidence.
The Ashur magazine editor-in-chief is known in the region for his frank reporting on human rights issues and prisoners’ rights, as well as government corruption. Sherwani has also been openly critical of the KRG’s handling of Turkish military operations on Iraqi Kurdish soil, and accuses the regional government of not pursuing justice for civilian casualties of Turkish bombings.