Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Kurdistan: 446 ISIS Suspects Held in Prison

A total of 446 people with suspected links to or membership in the ISIS are currently held in Kurdistan Region prisons, an official said.

KRG’s International Advocacy Coordinator Dindar Zebari held a press conference on Tuesday to brief reporters on a range of issues, including border ISIS detainees, border bombardments, and the recent demonstrations in Duhok.

Zebari said 398 ISIS suspects have so far been found guilty and convicted, while 48 people previously detained for suspected links to ISIS, were released.

According to the statistics he provided, 29 teenagers and 23 women are among those under detention now.

Zebari also provided figures on the Turkish border bombardment, saying that the violations were of great concern for the KRG. Meanwhile, he reminded that the presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the border areas was attracting more violent actions by the neighboring countries.

Since January this year, the KRG official said, 272 Turkish airstrikes, as well as 185 artillery bombardments by Turkish and Iranian forces were carried out on the border territories of Kurdistan Region.

The attacks have so far resulted in the death of 28 civilians, including five in 2020 alone, he pointed out.

The official went on to explain that the PKK’s presence in the border areas has not only attracted the neighbours’ attacks, but also led to the displacement of the villagers in these region, with hundreds of villages being evacuated or remaining empty for security concerns.

On the demonstrations, Zebari reiterated that the KRG is committed to the core principle of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, as part of which it sees peaceful demonstration as a natural right of every citizen.

However, he stressed that violent acts under the guise of demonstrations were not allowed not only in Kurdistan, but also across the world. He explained that, for instance, on 19 August 2020, a gathering in Zakho was held after midnight, which did not comply with the Demonstration Law of Kurdistan Region, and soon turned violent.

According to the official figures, 61 policemen and four civilians were injured during the Zakho gathering after some people among the demonstrators fired live bullets.

“Twenty-six police vehicles and public or private properties were damaged. Eighteen people were arrested, from which only four were [truck] drivers,” Zebari explained about the aftermath of the Zakho gathering which was supposed to call for the rights of truck drivers working across the border between Kurdistan Region and Turkey.

The KRG international advocacy coordinator also pointed out that other demonstrations were prevented by the authorities because of the measures the government has introduced to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, which is ultimately a public health issue.