PUK locks up journalists

KT News:

PUK-controlled security forces have detained two journalists in Sulaimaniyah this week.

Hoshiyar Abdullah, manager of the KNN TV channel has been detained in the Serchinar district in Sulaimaniyah city. ‘Awene’ reports that his arrest relates to a KNN TV report about a Iranian Kurdistan Democratic party (KDPI) official. Hoshiyar, an election candidate for Gorran, was previously arrested in 2011 when the then Iraqi Water Resources Minister tried to sue him for defamation.

Another journalist, Biradost Azizi, was detained in Sulaymaniyah after travelling from Erbil to contest a lawsuit lodged against him of the grounds of “defaming the PKK leader and weakening national sentiments”. However, according to ARA News, he has been charged with “entering Iraqi Kurdistan illegally in 2004″ even though he was granted a scholarship to enter the country by Jalal Talabani, the Iraq President and PKK founder, following the Syrian regime’s crackdown on huge protests by Syrian Kurds that year. Speaking to ARA News, Kurdish journalist Welat Ali, said: “Aziz’s arrest is most likely based on political backgrounds, it was basically a result of his professional work and political stances towards the PKK.” He said the arrest was due to the PUK’s currently warm relations with the PKK.

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