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 Kurdish lawyers strike over shooting of Human rights lawyer in Iraqi Kurdistan 

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Kurdish lawyers strike over shooting of Human rights lawyer in Iraqi Kurdistan ‎ 29.6.2011 

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June 29, 2011

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — A group of lawyers from Sulaimaniyah staged a strike today in protest at the shooting of a lawyer from the city.

On June 26 gunmen opened fire at Karwan Kamal, who represented victims of the Kurdish police brutality at recent demonstrations in the city, as he was on his way out of a restaurant with his friends. Has was wounded, as were his friends and a young workman who happened to be nearby.

Krmanj Mohammed, the representative for the strikers said at a press conference that he is not very hopeful that assailants will be tracked down.

“There are a number of instances of death threats, with concrete evidence, proof and identified names….but even they are not arrested,” he said.

He added that he does not wish to point the finger at any specific side but the “political parties in the city should have a response in this respect.”                

Human rights lawyer Karwan Kamal was shot after defending protesters
Kamal himself was not so diplomatic with his assessment: “There is a strong hand behind such crimes, I regard this an extension of the terrorizing campaign which began with the public protests.”

Abdul-Salam Najat, another striking lawyer said that the action had been taken because an attack on one lawyer is intended as a threat to all lawyers.

Amnesty international on Wednesday called on Iraqi Kurdish authorities for immediate launch of an independent investigation into attacks on those with links to pro-reform protests after a human rights lawyer Karwan Kamal was shot.

Since last February till middle April, thousands of protesters gathered daily in Sulaimaniyah and other parts of Kurdistan against corruption and the lording over Kurdistan region by two main parties KDP and PUK. Kurdish protestors demand the ouster of the local Kurdistan government KRG,www.ekurd.netcalling for improving services and living conditions and fighting corruption. 

After 62 days of protests, the Governorate of of Sulaimaniyah has banned unlicensed demonstrations in the city. Heavy Kurdish forces deployed in the Sulaimaniyah city to prevent any demonstrations, and occupied the city center and other parts of Sulaimaniyah. The Security Committee in Sulaimaniyah banned on April 18 all sorts of protests.

Most of the demonstrators opposed Massoud Barzani, and the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP. Ten people were killed and more than 700 others wounded and 220 more have been arrested in clashes between demonstrators and Kurdish security forces during a wave or protests that swept Sulaimaniyah. The Kurdish security forces (Asayish) arrested and tortured a lot of activists and journalists.

The protesters demand the Kurdish government and parliament resign to give way for “early transparent elections”. They complain about “monopolizing the economic and political authority,” by the two major parties of Kurdistan. Many observe allegiance to either of the two ruling patties a must to get employed and hence were deprived of the right. Kurdistan suffers from electric power deficiency but after almost 20 years of semi autonomy.

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