The trial of assistant judge at the Sulaymaniyah court Hatsyar Wshyar was postponed from 8 March 2020 to 22 April 2020 and 26 April 2020, following the COVID19 outbreak in Iraq. He is being charged on “misuse of electronic devices”.
Hatsyar Wshyar has been on hunger strike to protest the court’s decision on another unfair trial he faced where was sentenced on 2 December 2019 to a one-year prison term under Article 2 of the penal code, after he was charged with “misuse of electronics”. The charges related to his social media posts criticizing the conduct of certain judges and the manner in which the law was being implemented. In clear violation of fair trial standards, Hatsyar Wshyar was sentenced in a closed hearing, after he was denied access to his own lawyer and appointed a court lawyer instead and was not allowed to speak. Moreover, the charge per se represents a clear violation of his right to exercise his freedom of expression.
Hatsyar Wshyar’s medical condition is steadily deteriorating as a result of his hunger strike. He faces further risks of severe illness given the outbreak of COVID19 in Iraq, that puts prisoners at risk of contamination. Hatsyar Wshyar’s right to a fair trial and to exercise his freedom of expression have both been violated, in contradiction with Iraq’s obligations under Article 38 of the Iraqi constitution, as well as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.
I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Hatsyar Wshyar, and drop all charges in ongoing lawsuits, and ensure a prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigation into the claims of torture. I also urge you, that pending his release, he has access to qualified health professionals providing health care in compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent.