CPT received a story from a journalist who was beaten on January 15, 2017. He wanted to share his story in hopes that people around the world will know what is happening in this region.
This is Karwan Haji Shamo’s account of the events of that day.
“I wrote a post on my Facebook criticizing the Asiesh (security forces), the Mayor of Bahadre (the town he lives in), and the Kurdistan DemocraticParty (KDP) office in Bahadre. I said that they are the reason behind people from Bahdre not getting hired by the many international companies operating in the area.
At the beginning the Mayor and Asaish didn’t have a negative response, but the head of the KDP office from our area called me and asked me to delete the post from my Facebook. I refused his order. Two days after I received this phone call he sent three armed people to my home. When they arrived it was nine o’clock in the morning. I was just leaving for my office. As soon as the men approached they just started to beat me. Then they took me to the KDP office in Bahadre. Once there, they put me in an upstairs room where I was beaten unconscious. I woke up to them throwing water on me and I saw blood all around. The head of the KDP office told me, “You should not go out with bloody clothes on,” but I refused to change my clothing until I arrived at the hospital.
I was told at the hospital that I could not receive treatment without a report from the police. When I went to police station one police officer recognized me. He told me that I had slandered the KDP and he was also a member of this party. This same officer had also threatened me a few days before and had also asked me to delete my Facebook post. Because of this man, I couldn’t get paper from police station. I had to go to another hospital in another town to receive medical treatment for my injuries. This time I had media with me. Once we arrived to the second hospital a police officer there told me that I should not talk to the media about what had happened to me.”
Kurdistan has become a dangerous place for journalists and activists. In the recent past, several journalists and activists have been killed, arrested, and unlawfully detained in this region for speaking out against injustice and corruption. CPT has reported on many of these instances. For more on recent attacks on journalists, please read the report from Human Rights Watch
CPT Iraqi Kurdistan Team