Trial of journalist Ehmed abducted by the KDP in October postponed

The trial of journalist Silêman Ehmed, who was abducted by the KDP in October, was due to start at the criminal court in Duhok on Sunday but was postponed as the Asayish did not hand over important documents.

Silêman Ehmed, an Arabic editor for the local news website RojNews, who was detained by KDP forces on 25 October 2023 and has been held captive in KDP prisons for 250 days, appeared in court for the first time today.

Ehmed was arrested on 25 October while entering Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region from Syria, where he had been visiting his family. The Security Directorate (Asayish), which is responsible for border security in Duhok Governorate, accused the journalist of "endangering national security", which is Article 1 of Law No. 21 enacted by the Kurdistan Region Parliament in 2003, and that the prosecutor continued to detain him for this reason. According to Ehmed's lawyer, not a single piece of evidence had been produced regarding this alleged crime for 7 months.

Numerous actions were organized in Kurdistan and around the world to protest this illegal detention as no trace of Silêman Ehmed could be found for 211 days. Thousands of journalists and institutions asked about the fate of the journalist and, as a result of the intense pressure, the KDP was forced to tell the lawyers where he was detained and arranged a visit on 22 May 2024.

The trial at the Duhok Criminal Court on Sunday was postponed to 29 July at short notice as the judge in charge called in sick shortly before the start of the hearing. In addition, the KDP's Duhok Security Directorate did not send the documents relevant to the proceedings and journalistic equipment belonging to Silêman Ehmed to the court.