The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) released three of the five activists who are known to the public as the “Badinan detainees” on Friday, while the other two remain behind bars.
The term “Badinan detainees” refer to more than 100 people arrested in 2019 by the KRG during demonstrations held in the Shiladze and Duhok districts of the country’s Badinan region. Most of those demonstrators were later released.
A crowd, including political activists who have been calling for the release of the remaining Badinan detainees for months and relatives of the newly released Eyaz Kerem Reşid, Hariwan Isa Muhammed and Şivan Said Omer, greeted them with joy, VOA Kurdish reported.
“Our thoughts are still with our two friends who are in prison,” Eyaz Kerem told VOA. “Both are being tried unlawfully and against their human rights.”
The activists, who were released yesterday along with Şerwan Şerwani and Gohdar Muhammed Emin Abdulmecid, were detained in the Duhok province of the Badinan region. On 16 February 2021, the Erbil (Hewler) High Criminal Court sentenced the activists to six years in prison for “threatening national security”.
The court decision received backlash from those who thought that the activists in question were arrested simply for criticising the KRG’s relations with the Turkish government.
The Court of Appeals upheld the prison sentences in May 2021, ruling that the defendants were allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and intended to “target sensitive areas and institutions in the Kurdistan Region.”