Arab parties in Kirkuk want 'Arab prisoners' held in Kurdistan Region released

Kirkuk, young Arabs ask for release of the prisoners. August, 2019 Photo: Karwan Salehi

KirkukNow- Kirkuk

United Arab Front (UAF) once more asks about the fate of Arab prisoners in the Kurdistan Region’s jails in a letter sent to the newly designated prime minister.

Recently, in a letter submitted to Mohammed Tofiq Allawi, the designated prime minister, the AUF in Kirkuk call upon him to investigate the cases of Arab prisoners held in the city of Erbil and Sulaimani.

Nazim Shammari, deputy head of Arab UAF, said, “in the letter, we asked him to prioritize the trials of the Sunni Arab prisoners in the Kurdistan Region’s prisons.”

Mohammed Tofiq was designated to form the new government by Iraqi President Barham Salih on February 11, 2020.

UAF thinks that the prisoners cases have turned into “propaganda” and only during election campaigns they are talked about.

“Their cases have been compromised and traded and those who have neglected the prisoners are Arab representatives in the Council of Representative who are from Kirkuk, Diyala, Tikrit, and Mosul.”

The Arab parties have protested and held press conference in which they have demanded the fate of the Arab prisoners. Last June, they handed over names of one thousand missing persons to the acting governor of Kirkuk, Rakan Al Jabouri, and accused Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic (KDP) Asaysh forces of jailing them.

“Number of the detainees has reached to a thousand in the Kurdistan Region’s prisons and their fates are unknown. Some of them have faced violence and torture,” Shammari said.

Shamari requested the KRG to return those who are guilty to Baghdad Jails and release those who are innocent.

Last August, Ministry of Interior of KRG issued a statement in which it denied that prisoners have been kept the in the KRG jails, and said “the door of the prisons are open to International, local and human rights organizations to investigate the matter.”

However, after a week of the statement, PUK’s anti-terror forces in Sulaimani returned “90 Arab prisoners” to Kirkuk who were arrested during the ISIS war. Earlier in February and March 2019, 36 prisoners were returned to Kirkuk. Most of these prisoners were arrested in the camps during the war of ISIS.

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