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Iraqi Kurdistan: Security forces storm offices of NRT and close them by force

2017-12-20

According to reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), at 6:45 pm on 19 December 2017, more than 200 armed members of Iraqi Kurdistan’s internal security forces stormed various offices of NRT channels in Sulaimaniya without any judicial order. They confiscated broadcasting equipment, smashed some other equipment, and asked the personnel to leave the building.

Some of the staff members are reportedly being held in unknown locations and the broadcasting of the various channels has stopped.

The raid on NRT took place after two days of violent protests, which according to news reports, led to the death of three people and over 80 wounded. Kurdish protesters were reportedly protesting unpaid salaries and expressing anger at the government.

While GCHR strongly condemns this arbitrary and illegal targeting of NRT and its staff while carrying out their daily journalistic work, it calls on the Kurdistan Regional Authorities to release all detained NRT journalists immediately and unconditionally, allow them to work and NRT to broadcast again. The Kurdistan Regional authorities must meet their obligations to protect journalists and media institutions and stop targeting public freedoms, including freedom of the press.