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Erbil court convicts journalists, activists of spying, organizing armed groups

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Feb 23, 2021

Five journalists and activists were sentenced last week to six years in prison on charges of threatening the security, stability and sovereignty of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.

Combing through online messages from group chats, photos from cell phones and voice recordings, and listening to two witness testimonies, the trial by Kurdistan Region’s Judicial Council lasted only two days; in reality, the cases had been ongoing for months. Some of the defendants were jailed in August of last year after anti-government demonstrations broke out across the region.

In total, seven defendants were tried. Five defendants — Hariwan Essa, Sherwan Sherwani, Shivan Saeed, Guhdar Zebari and Ayaz Karam — were sentenced to prison with charges amounting to “spying and organizing armed groups,” said the Erbil-based court.

The cases of the two remaining defendants were sent back to court for........

© Al Monitor

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