Lawyer of Rojnews editor Silêman Ehmed in KDP custody prevented from meeting with his client

The lawyer of Rojnews editor Silêman Ehmed, who has been unlawfully held hostage for 189 days, was once again denied a meeting with his client in Duhok Asayish Prison.

Silêman Ehmed, the editor of Rojnews Arabic Service, was abducted by KDP forces at the Semalka (Faysh Khabur, Kr: Pêşxabûr) crossing point on the Iraqi-Syrian border on 25 October while returning to South Kurdistan from Aleppo, where he had gone on 1 October to visit his family. No news has been received from the Kurdish journalist for 189 days now.

Ehmed’s lawyer said that he went to the Duhok Security Prison to meet with his client but was prevented from doing so by the KDP Asayish (Local Security) forces.

Lawyer Rêvîng Yasîn, who went to the Duhok Asayish Prison yesterday upon the promise of the Duhok Human Rights Commission, said the following regarding the unlawful obstruction: "Today, a delegation from the Human Rights Commission went to Duhok Prison and reported that Silêman Ehmed was there. They told me that I could go there to see him, but our meeting was prevented. I waited from 09.30 until 14.00 to have his power of attorney signed and to meet Silêman Ehmed. My efforts were fruitless. I once again informed the Duhok Human Rights Commission that the Duhok Asayish did not allow me to meet with my client, and the Human Rights Commission promised to contact Duhok Prison to arrange a meeting with Silêman Ehmed."

Yasîn said, "Tomorrow, if the Human Rights Commission also fails to prevent this obstruction, we will organise a press statement and declare to Kurdistan and international public opinion that the commission has done nothing."

The KDP intelligence service accuses Silêman Ehmed, who comes from Rojava (northern Syria), of having links to the PKK. His arrest at the Sêmalka-Pêşxabûr border crossing between the Autonomous Region of North and East Syria and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) after a visit to his family in Aleppo was only unofficially confirmed by the KDP-affiliated Asayish in Duhok six days after his disappearance in the wake of growing public reaction. RojNews describes the accusations against Silêman Ehmed as unsubstantiated allegations that have no connection to his five years of work as an editor. The Duhok Asayish, despite accusing the journalist of "conducting intelligence activities", then claimed that they did not have him in their custody.

The Duhok Judgeship, to which an application was made afterward, ruled that Ahmet's lawyers could meet with him. With this decision, Ahmet's detention was officially recognised. The lawyers who went to the Duhok Asayish with the decision in their hands were not allowed to meet with Ahmet and faced attacks and threats. The lawyers continued their investigations despite the attacks and threats and found out that Ahmet was being held in one of the unofficial detention centres of Parastin, the KDP's intelligence agency.

Lawyers from the ‘Silêman Ehmed Defence Group’ have submitted more than 10 official applications to date. However, they have not been allowed to meet with their client, nor have they been provided with any information about his condition.

The abduction of Silêman Ehmed was condemned by local and international journalist organisations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders.

The KDP administration, to which professional organisations as well as civil society organisations have appealed, has not made any statement regarding Silêman Ehmed.

Rojnews Agency condemns the unlawful abduction of Silêman Ehmed, who has been working as an editor at the Arabic service of the agency for 5 years, and demands his release and an explanation about his fate as soon as possible. The agency applied to the United Nations (UN) recently for support in finding out his whereabouts.