A group of students who wanted to attend Kirkuk university in Kurdish attire were detained for an hour by Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service on Sunday. The students were freed after Kurdish parliamentarians and the head of unversity intervened in the matter.
The incident happened on Sunday when a group of 17 Kurdish students tried to enter the university in Kurdish clothes on the occasion of Kurdistan Flag Day.
“We wanted to enter the campus but the security guards prevented us and they called the CTS who turned up in several Humvees and detained us,” one of students detained told Kirkuknow but requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from the Iraqi security forces.
“They pulled out their guns and pistols so we won’t run away, they took away our ID cards and mobile phones and forced us to do sit and stand repeatedly outside the campus,” the student said.
The students had their Kurdish clothes on with a red flower in their hands as a sign of peace on the occasion of Kurdistan Flag Day. After an hour of detention, an assistant to the president of the university meets with the students and a Kurdish parliamentarian in Baghdad intervened o ntheir behalf.
Omar Inja said the higher education ministry has banned activities like the one these students were involved in by wearing Kurdish cloths and raising Kurdistan flag. “We told the students not to create problems for themselves by wearing Kurdish clothes and raising kurdistan flag, because this is a political issue and others should fight this battle” Omar Inja told Kirkuknow.
The Kurdistan region celebrates 17th of December as the Kurdistan flag day by holding events across the Kurdish region but this year there were no events in Kirkuk as the Kurdish forces lost control of the city to the Iraqi forces on October 16.
Kirkuknow repeated calls to the CTS official were not answered.