Friday, July 16, 2010

Freelance journalist sued and allegedly threatened in Southern Kurdistan

Committee to Protect Journalists15/07/2010

Shwan Ahmed, a freelance journalist, is facing criminal defamation charges based on a series of articles he wrote alleging corruption in Sulaimaniyah, in northeastern Iraq. Ahmed told CPJ he was threatened by one of the parties in the case.

Ahmed said charges were filed against him and that he received the threats after publishing a series of articles in June about alleged corruption within the Sulaimaniyah-based Sardam Printing and Publishing House, a publisher of mainly Kurdish writers, according to CPJ research and local news reports. In his articles, which first appeared in Awena, a Kurdish weekly, Ahmed alleges that one of the writers in charge of Sadram, Rauf Bikat, had mismanaged government-donated land. Bikat responded to Ahmed’s allegations in an online article for Awena and filed a criminal defamation suit against the journalist in June.

According to Ahmed, on Monday evening, Bikat's son, Ari Rauf—a former police officer—called him and said: "My father responded to you with a pen but I will respond with bullets." Earlier the same day, according to Ahmed, Rauf called and said he was coming “to get” him. Rahman Gharib, who works at Metro Center, a local press freedom organization, told CPJ that he accompanied Ahmed to Sulaymaniyah Court on Tuesday to file a lawsuit against Rauf for threatening him.

To see the report, please click the link below:

Freelance journalist sued and allegedly threatened