SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Armed men on Thursday abducted and tortured one of the leaders of the protest movement in Sulaimaniyah.
28-year old Ismail Abdulla was a regular speaker at the rallies in Azadi Square during 62 days of protest. He was a key member of the Azadi Square council became a symbol of a peaceful uprising. After Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) forces violently occupied the Square on 19 April,www.ekurd.netIsmail and many his colleagues went into hiding and he was communicating with friends through Facebook. The PUK of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani.
Last night militia men seized Ismail and subjected him to three hours of beating and stabbing before dumping him on the outskirts of the city.
28-year old Ismail Abdulla was a regular speaker at the rallies in Azadi Square during. Photo: Lvin press
Ismail managed to contact a relative who took him to
hospital. He was discharged from hospital today and
told local Lvinpress that he holds PUK forces
responsible for the attack. He has been threatened
previously by phone calls and text messages.|
This development is surprising given the two ruling parties’ request for meetings and dialogue with the opposition.
Amnesty International has been contacted and asked to investigate the case.
Since February till middle April, thousands of protesters gathered daily in Sulaimaniyah and other parts of Kurdistan against corruption and the lording over Kurdistan region by two main parties KDP and PUK. Kurdish protestors demand the ouster of the local Kurdistan government KRG,www.ekurd.netcalling for improving services and living conditions and fighting corruption.
After 62 days of protests, the Governorate of of Sulaimaniyah has banned unlicensed demonstrations in the city. Heavy Kurdish forces deployed in the Sulaimaniyah city to prevent any demonstrations, and occupied the city center and other parts of Sulaimaniyah. The Security Committee in Sulaimaniyah banned on April 18 all sorts of protests.
Most of the demonstrators opposed Massoud Barzani, and the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP. Ten people were killed and more than 700 others wounded and 220 more have been arrested in clashes between demonstrators and Kurdish security forces during a wave or protests that swept Sulaimaniyah. The Kurdish security forces (Asayish) arrested and tortured a lot of activists and journalists.
The protesters demand the Kurdish government and parliament resign to give way for “early transparent elections”. They complain about “monopolizing the economic and political authority,” by the two major parties of Kurdistan. Many observe allegiance to either of the two ruling patties a must to get employed and hence were deprived of the right. Kurdistan suffers from electric power deficiency but after almost 20 years of semi autonomy.
For decades, the KDP of regional president Massoud Barzani and the PUK of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani have lorded over the region.
Massoud Barzani and his relatives control a large number of commercial enterprises in Kurdistan-Iraq, with a gross value of several billion US dollars. The family is routinely accused of corruption and nepotism by Kurdish media as well as international observers.
Iraq's Kurdish regional government has near total autonomy and is funded by a share of the country's oil revenue. The two parties that share power each command former guerrilla militias that have been given the status of regional security forces.
Earlier Massoud Barzani told an Italian newspaper that if 50,000 Kurdistan citizens require him to step down, he will. Afterwards, the opposition parties led a signature campaign and reportedly collected even more votes to oust the president. However, the fate of those signatures is still unclear.
Iraqi Kurdistan: Sulaimaniyah protest leader abducted and tortured