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Iraqi forces violently disperse protest

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 23 October 2012 - ANHRI denounces the use of violence by Iraqi security forces to disperse a peaceful demonstration in Maysan, a province in southeastern Iraq, on 21 October. The demonstrators gathered to protest the province's deteriorating services since the onset of a big rainstorm.

Although the protest at Maysan was a peaceful one that included dozens of people gathered in front of the municipal council, Iraqi security forces used weapons and batons to break up the demonstration assaulting the protesters both physically and verbally.

The rainstorm led to the sinking of several homes in the governorate due to the accumulation of water in residential areas. The electricity was cut off in more than one area in the governorate, while streets and public parks were transformed into swamps.

"The persistence of the Iraqi forces to use force and violence to suppress peaceful demonstrators and silence opinionated citizens will pull Iraq back to the era of Saddam Hussein, an era that was characterized by suppression and the use of excessive violence to restrict freedoms," said ANHRI.

ANHRI also condemns the sentencing of journalist Karzan Karim to two years in prison for publishing a report detailing incidents of corruption regarding the airport of Irbil as well as mentioning details on Masrour Barzani, the president of the National Security Council.

Police forces of the Kurdistan region arrested Karim on 7 October in accordance with Article 21, which stipulates "life or temporary imprisonment to whoever intentionally commits an act compromising the security and sovereignty of the regional institutions of Iraqi Kurdistan".

ANHRI calls for the need to resort to the press violations and journalism labor laws in cases like Karim's. ANHRI also calls for the immediate release of the detained journalist Karim and all those who are arrested for expressing their opinions.

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