NRT reporter Aram Bakhtyar has been detained by Kurdish authorities yet the perpetrators behind an arson attack on NRT in 2011 still remain at large, Kurdish parliamentarian Ali Hama Salih said. “Journalists murderers, those who set NRT on fire, Baath regime supporters, Anfal campaigners, those who made people hungry and stole their wealth are not brought to justice or detained, rather they stand against people’s voting and disrupt their conscience”, Salih said in a post on his official Facebook account. “What is being done today towards you [NRT] serves the ugly system of governance in Kurdistan”, Kurdish lawmaker Salih said. Bakhtyar was detained by police in Kifri on Monday (May 22), after the Judicial Council filed a lawsuit against the NRT reporter in Kifri on May 3 following a report on a man who was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Bakhtyar was told that he was being detained on the charge of “defamation” and through a lawsuit from the president of Kirkuk-Garmyan appellate court, Akram Faraj. The report documented how a man was taken into custody in 2016 after confessing to the crime of stealing 14 times in a number of shops in Kifri and who blamed his lack of income due to the government’s austerity measures. Following the detention of the NRT employee, the court issued an arrest warrant for the channel’s director regarding the same report on the court case.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) representative Dlawar Azhgayee told NRT European countries have supported a united Iraq. European officials during meetings and visits from their Kurdish counterparts have repeatedly said the issue is related to Kurds on whether to split from Iraq or hold a referendum, Azhgayee said. European countries will further support Kurds during independence due to the effect Kurds have had in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), according to the KRG envoy. Senior Kurdish officials have made calls for an independence referendum in the region to gauge people’s appetites for such a move, despite the number of crises currently affecting the KRG. KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said on March 23 that a referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan Region was set to take place this year.
Sirwan Zahawi, the head of the anti-corruption committee told NRT tv that the committee continues its investigation to carry out reform to fight corruption. “Four to five members, three of whom are in this cabinet, have been selected. They may not be corruptors but their names have been chosen. Accusation is not a crime. You will be called to defend yourself” Zahawi noted. Kurdistan considered as the most corrupted part of Iraq. According to Kurdish lawmakers billions of dollars are missing from Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil revenues.