Urgent Action Update: HIGHEST COURT UPHOLDS PRISON SENTENCE (Iraq: UA 28.21)

May 11, 2021

On April 28, 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld the prison sentence against activists and journalists Sherwan Sherwani, Guhdar Zebari, Hariwan Isaa, Ayaz Karam and Shvan Saeed. On February 16, 2021, the Erbil Criminal Court had sentenced the five men to six years in prison following unfair trials, based on trumped up charges. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Share
Share

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 28.21. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Dr. Dindar Zebari
KRG Coordinator Office for International Advocacy (OCIA) Erbil
Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @DrDindarZebari
Ambassador Fareed Yasseen
Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
3421 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 742 1600 I Fax: 202 333 1129
Contact Form: http://www.iraqiembassy.us/webform/feedback
Twitter: @IraqiEmbassyUSA
Facebook: @IraqiEmbassyUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Dr. Zebari,

On April 28, 2021, the Court of Appeal [hereinafter the Court] upheld the six-year prison sentence against activists and journalists Sherwan Sherwani, Guhdar Zebari, Hariwan Issa, Ayaz Karam and Shvan Saeed. In its ruling, the Court rejected the defendants’ claims of torture and other ill-treatment, citing lack of evidence; while confirming the charges brought against the five activists and journalists, which include “receiving money from the consulates of the USA and of Germany”; “sending sensitive information to foreign entities” and “cooperating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)”.

On February 16, 2021, the Erbil Criminal Court sentenced the five journalists and activists to six years in prison after a flagrantly unfair trial mired with serious allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and based on apparently trumped-up charges. Since their sentencing, the five activists and journalists had gone on hunger strike to protest their detention conditions. According to information available to Amnesty International, the five men are detained in overcrowded cells with no room to sleep, stand or walk. Throughout their detention, the five activists and journalists were forcibly disappeared, some for more than three months.

In light of the above, I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Sherwan Sherwani, Guhdar Zebari, Hariwan Issa, Ayaz Karam and Shvan Saeed, immediately take all steps to ensure their unjust conviction is quashed or overturned, and ensure a prompt and effective investigation into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment with a view to holding perpetrators accountable and providing redress to them. Pending their release, I further urge you to ensure they have access to qualified health professionals providing health care in compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent and unfettered access to their lawyers and family.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES