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Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief April 5, 2022

Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief April 5, 2022

A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.


Danish police forcibly arrested a female Kurdish activist named Qadimkhaer Haganizadeh after she refused to board a plane traveling from Turkey to Iran. Haganizadeh, who was initially deported from Denmark, refused to return to Iran because she is likely to face prison or a death sentence there. Hagenzadeh is liable to face deportation to Iran again once she serves a 30-day jail sentence in Denmark for disorderly conduct.

Iranian authorities tortured three Kurds arrested for celebrating Newroz in Sanandaj and shaved their heads. Moreover, Iranian security forces arrested five Kurds in Piranshahr on Sunday. Concurrently, Oshnavieh’s Islamic Revolutionary Court handed down prison sentences ranging from nine months to eight years to ten Kurds for “membership of Kurdish parties” and prior participation in anti-government protests.

The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights released the names and sentences of the ten, which were: Eight years for Ayoub Marou, Five years for Rahman Yousifi, Kamal Qoitabasi, Mohammed Hamzapour, and Abu Baker Minipak.

Three years for Aziz Qadirtaj, Two years and six months for Salim Sharifi. Six months for Ayoub Mossa, Siamand Khaarzam, and Mehran Khaarzam


The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Iranian businessman Mohmmad Ali Hosseini and “his network of companies responsible for procuring ballistic missile propellant-related materials for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Research and Self Sufficiency Jihad Organization (IRGC RSSJO).” The sanctions come in response to the March 14 Iranian ballistic missile attack on Erbil and “the Iranian-enabled Houthi attack on a Saudi Aramco facility.” Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller visited Erbil and delivered a letter from President Joe Biden to Nechirvan Barzani that “reaffirmed US support for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.” The Presidency of the Kurdistan Region said President Biden “reiterated” Kurdistan is a “critical partner” and “reaffirmed his commitment to continue supporting Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga.”After Iraq’s Council of Representatives failed to achieve quorum and elect a president for the second time on Wednesday, Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of Iraq’s largest parliamentary bloc, called on the Iranian-backed coalition known as the Coordination Framework to form a government and allow his coalition to serve as the opposition. The Coordination Framework has picked former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to begin negotiations with Iraqi and Kurdish parties but stands little chance of forming a new government because it only holds 70 seats in the Council of Representatives. At the same time, Iraq’s ongoing political deadlock has led to talks of a rerun of the 2021 parliamentary elections. The head of Duhok Governorate’s Dinarte subdistrict told Rudaw that Turkish air and artillery strikes targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) forced the evacuation of 24 Kurdish villages. Turkey’s ongoing military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan, which the Turkish government still claims are targeting the PKK, have resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties, thousands of evacuations, and the establishment of at least 40 Turkish military bases and outposts in the region. On a separate note, Iraqi border guards and Kurdish units deployed to a sector of Dohuk Governorate’s Kani Masi subdistrict that previously hosted the PKK. 


The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said a Turkish airstrike killed one of its members and wounded two more, including a renowned poet named Farhad Mardi. On Friday, the drone attack targeted a vehicle carrying the SDF ranks and Madri in Tirbespiyê, east of Qamishli. Further, intense Turkish and proxies’ shelling of Zarkan, Tal Tamer, and Ain Essa districts resulted in the injury of civilian and high voltage power lines. On Saturday, the SDF held a funeral ceremony for two of its members from Hajen town, killed while “confronting terrorism and defending the region” in Abu Hamam village of Deir Ez Zor. Separately, the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East of Syria handed 27 children and 10 women of ISIS (Da’esh) families who were German nationals, to Germany. The repatriation occurred after Germany’s Foreign Office delegation visited al Hasakah on Thursday and met with Kurdish officials. Despite releasing some kidnapped Kurds for ransom last week, Turkish-backed militias arrested three more Kurds in the Jandris and Rajo districts of the occupied Afrin. The Kurdish men, Qazali Hassan, Mohammed Ma’mo, and Yousif Othman, were kidnapped by militias of the “political security” force and al Hamza division. 


The ruling parties of Justice and Development (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) passed a law lowering the election threshold from 10% to 7% for parties entering the Parliament. The move, objected to, by the opposition parties, including the Kurds, aims to feed a lifeline to the declining MHP, the main ally of the AKP, and President Erdogan. “As a response to its declining popular support and legitimacy, and just one year before the presidential and parliamentary elections, the AKP-MHP alliance has passed new electoral law amendments in the Turkish parliament, bringing in regulations calculated to keep them in pow,” read a statement by Foreign Affairs Commission of the Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The HDP remains at the AKP-MHP alliance’s aim to shut the party down. Last week, dozens of local and international organizations called Turkey’s Constitutional Court to be “impartial” in reviewing HDP’s closure case. Separately, the economic situation in Turkey continues to deteriorate as inflation rates climbed to 61%, a new 20-year high. The Turkish government filed a new indictment against the jailed Kurdish leader, Selahattin Demitras, over social media posts nine years ago. Ankara’s prosecutor demanded one to five years prison time for a tweet by Demirtas praising the Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan during the peace process with the Turkish government. Demirtas has been jailed since November of 2016, and the Turkish government rejected the release of the politician despite several calls and rulings by international courts and organizations

Washington Kurdish Institute


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