By Kamal Chomani:
Hell of Truth, Aso Jabar’s new book, has been banned by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the writer told The Kurdistan Tribune.
Aso Jabar is a Kurdish intellectual and writer who was sacked from his job with the Ministry of Culture in 2008 due to a critical article about then minister Falakadin Kakayi (who is currently president Barzani’s political adviser) and the activities of the ministry. He has recently finished writing Hell of Truth, a book of 500 pages documenting almost all the violations committed by the authorities against writers, journalists, activists and groups defending human rights and freedom of speech in Kurdistan.
In an email, Aso Jabar told me that: “On March 24, 2012, as legal and cultural regulations require, I sent the book to the directorate of press and publishing of the Ministry of Culture of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). After them keeping the book for a while awaiting … license permission, many of my friends went to the directorate and asked about the license permission for publication.”
“Ultimately, the directorate told the friends that it cannot be published in Kurdistan because it is full of evidence of the KRG’s human rights violations and critical data about attacks on journalists that can never be allowed to be published here,” Jabar told The Kurdistan Tribune.
According to KRG law, no one can print a book without getting permission from the Ministry of Culture. If any printing house publishes the book without this permission, it will face prosecution.
Aso Jabar, who has already fled Kurdistan to the United States, harshly criticized the KRG: “Unfortunately, it is not the first time they have prohibited a book and prevented it from being published. If they can kill a journalist during the day, threaten journalists with the death penalty and kidnap them, and beat activists for performing activities supporting freedom, they can easily prohibit a book from being published.”
Jabar underscored that, regardless of whether they give permission, “I will publish it in any price. The entire world should know what they have done against journalists, human rights activists and writers.”
The violations of human rights and attacks on journalists and activists increased during the protests in Slemani last February. In recent years, two journalists and a writer have been killed by unknown forces, along with the torturing and kidnapping dozens of others in the Kurdistan region for speaking out against corruption and the undemocratic rule of the two ruling parties.
In the last two weeks, Sherwan Sherwani, editor-in-chief of Bashur Magazine, a critical magazine published in Duhok, was arrested although – according to Journalism Law, No 35, 2007 – journalists should not be arrested. Dilshad Anwar, a Hawlati daily journalist has been threatened with the death penalty if he continues criticizing and publishing articles about corruption.