Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdish Leadership

by TChris

As President Bush crows about his success in bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq, perhaps he can explain why Kamal Sayid Qadir has been sentenced to 30 years in an Iraqi prison for criticizing corruption in the Kurdish leadership.

From Austria he had written articles accusing [Kurdish leader Massoud] Barzani's all-powerful Kurdistan Democratic Party of corruption while calling members of its intelligence service, the Parastin, criminals and its chief -- Mr. Barzani's son -- a "pimp."

Qadir was tried for "defaming" the Parastin and Kurdish political leaders. He says the trial lasted only 15 minutes.

President Bush might favor a political system that incarcerates critics of the government, but a country can't be free if journalists and writers risk prison for expressing opinions and exposing facts that discomfort those who hold power. Qadir isn't the only Iraqi who has lost his freedom for daring to express an opinion. The NY Times reports that Iraqi authorities are increasingly "using the courts as an instrument of intimidation to discourage reporting on corruption and abuses of power."

Two journalists from Wasit Province in east central Iraq face 10 years in prison for suggesting that Iraqi judges kowtow to the American authorities just as Saddam Hussein's courts rubber-stamped edicts of the Baath Party. The journalists, Ayad Mahmoud al-Tamimi and Ahmed Mutair Abbas, had also accused the then-governor of Wasit of corruption and labeled him a bastard, a grave insult here. ...

In Kurdistan, [former newspaper editor Rebin Ismael] says, it is not unusual for the secret police to threaten or arrest journalists who fail to toe the line of the K.D.P. More than a dozen journalists have been arrested in recent years, he says, but the cases are never reported on in Kurdistan because other journalists fear saying anything critical of the party.

A "senior Kurdish official" defended the use of criminal defamation prosecutions when writings are intended as a "political weapon." The power of the written word as a weapon against an entrenched political system is essential to a free and open government. That isn't what's forming in Iraq, the administration's assurances notwithstanding.

< Abramoff's Lawyer Abbe Lowell | Public Pressure Leads to Longer Sentence >
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    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#1)
    by LizDexic on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 09:16:48 AM EST
    But Times reporter Richard Oppel tells us that "rumor mongering" and "name calling" are "beyond the bounds" of free speech. I'm so glad we have the "liberal media" to help us redefine the first amendment.

    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#2)
    by ras on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 09:42:35 AM EST
    This is from the official US Govt editorial specifically condemning the conviction of Mr. Qadir:
    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said, "The free flow of ideas is the lifeline of liberty." The jailing of people for their political views has no place in Iraq's new democracy. "In the long run," says President George W. Bush, "there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty."

    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#3)
    by soccerdad on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 09:54:43 AM EST
    More BS from Rice, the US has shut down a number of newspapers in Iraq including the one run by Sadr simply because they criticized the US and its lackeys. The US has shut soldier's blogs when they didn't like the content. Maybe Bush should start at home and stop criticizing those who are against the war, stop spying on protesters, etc. Those who live in glass houses.....

    Rice: "The free flow of ideas is the lifeline of liberty." Bush: no justice without freedom Curtains Ordered for Media Coverage of Returning Coffins from WaPo: Dana Milbank, October 21, 2003;
    Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of U.S. soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped caskets.
    To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers' homecomings on all military bases.
    Russ Kick, The Memory Hole:
    Immediately after hearing about this, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the following:
    All photographs showing caskets (or other devices) containing the remains of US military personnel at Dover AFB. This would include, but not be limited to, caskets arriving, caskets departing, and any funerary rites/rituals being performed. The timeframe for these photos is from 01 February 2003 to the present.
    I specified Dover because they process the remains of most, if not all, US military personnel killed overseas. Not surpisingly, my request was completely rejected. Not taking 'no' for an answer, I appealed on several grounds, and--to my amazement--the ruling was reversed. The Air Force then sent me a CD containing 361 photographs of flag-draped coffins and the services welcoming the deceased soldiers.
    Score one for freedom of information and the public's right to know.
    And score one for the lifeline of liberty. America owes gratitude to Russ Kick for fighting for this. Bush and Rice should thank him personally.

    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 10:29:25 AM EST
    Someone please remind me one more time... this war of bush's is a war on what, again? Over to you, trolls....

    TL: Did the White House Deep-Six the Abramoff Photos into the memory hole... wake me when it's not 1984.

    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#7)
    by jondee on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 02:29:49 PM EST
    punisher - Russ Kick is the man.

    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#8)
    by rMatey on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 03:36:15 PM EST
    Since Iraq and the US are both democracies now, does that also mean that SROTUS will start throwing us into prison, too???

    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 03:38:11 PM EST
    Rice: "The free flow of ideas is the lifeline of liberty." Bush: "no justice without freedom" I agree with both statements. Imagine if our leaders meant it. They cheapen the sentiments.

    Re: Iraqi Writer Imprisoned For Criticizing Kurdis (none / 0) (#10)
    by Sailor on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 03:56:41 PM EST
    Obviously if what bush had said was true 'terrorists hate our freedoms', then there is no longer any reason to attack the US. The iraqi writer should have understood, under a bush occupation, Kurds should have their whey, (with apologies to Miss Muffet;-)