Seek Justice for Man on Hunger Strike


Target: Masu’d Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government

Goal: Formally charge or immediately release Iraqi man who has been imprisoned for months without being charged with any crimes

For months Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh, a married father of two, has been on a hunger strike to protest what he believes is his wrongful imprisonment. He has not yet been charged with any crime, and he has been grossly maltreated while in custody. Sign the petition and demand that the government of the Kurdistan region of Iraq take immediate steps to ensure Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh’s fair treatment.

The Kurdistan Region has been a “semi-autonomous” region of Iraq for just over two decades, with different political parties dominating different subsections of the region. Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh worked for the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) which, along with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), “directly or indirectly” controls security and armed forces in the region, reports Amnesty International. The Kurdistan Region generally has a better human rights record than the rest of Iraq, but  “arbitrary arrest, long-term detention without trial, torture and unfair trial[s]” are not uncommon occurrences.

The KDP suspects Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh, who worked as a registry official for the party, of leaking confidential information to the press about the KDP’s rigging of a 2009 election. The Parastin, the KDP’s security forces, arrested Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh in January 2012. However, Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh has not been formally charged with any crime. Because of this, his lawyers have not been able to do much to help him as he gets bounced around a legal system that subjects him to beatings, solitary confinement, and other harsh treatment.

Speak up for Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh. Tell the government of the Kurdistan Region to either formally charge Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh with a crime or to let him go immediately and unconditionally. If he is charged with a crime, exhort government officials to ensure that he is treated humanely and is allowed legal representation and a fair trial. And finally, demand an investigation into the ill-treatment Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh has already endured.

Your Excellency,
I am writing to express my deep concern for the well-being of Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh, who has been detained by the Parastin since January 2012 without being formally charged with any crime. Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh has been on a hunger strike in protest of what he believes to be his wrongful imprisonment, and his health is at risk. I urge you to do everything in your power to seek justice for Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh — either charge him with what Amnesty International terms “an internationally recognizable criminal offense” or release him immediately and unconditionally.
In the more than 20 months he has been detained, Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh has been held incommunicado, thrown in solitary confinement for months at a time, beaten, and ill-treated. His lawyers have been unable to do anything for him since he has not yet been charged with anything.
Almost two years is far too long to wait for justice. I demand that Niaz ‘Aziz Saleh either be immediately charged and granted a fair trial or unconditionally released from the custody of the Parastin. Furthermore, I demand that he be given access to his family and legal representation, and that he be afforded any medical care he may require. Finally, I demand an investigation into his beatings, and I implore you to bring those responsible to justice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: philld via Wikimedia Commons

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