Kurdish Aspect covers issues related to Kurds and Kurdistan within the larger context of Middle Eastern concerns. The website offers readers a treasure of information as a useful guide to know how others view the Kurds. Kurdish aspect is proud that a significant number of contributors who have a deep understanding and experience in Kurdish history, culture and politics constantly write for the website. Kurdish Aspect also publishes the quarterly Kurdish Aspect Magazine."> Killing of Journalist Enflames Iraqi Kurds

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May 10, 2010 Killing of Journalist Enflames Iraqi Kurds

The New York Times - By Sam Dagher 

ERBIL, Iraq — Hundreds of university students tried to storm the local parliament building here in the capital of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region on Monday during an angry protest against the recent abduction and killing of a Kurdish journalist. 

The journalist, Zardasht Osman, 23 had been critical of the authorities and the entrenched patronage system, and many of the protesters accused the security and intelligence forces of being behind the killing. 

The students scuffled with baton-wielding members of the riot police. Some waved their shoes and threw water bottles and pieces of broken glass at the soldiers and police officers. 

“Whose hands are stained with the blood of Zardasht?” they asked. 

Mr. Osman, a freelance journalist and student, was kidnapped last week at the entrance of his college in Erbil. He was later found dead with two bullets in the head on a highway in Mosul, about 50 miles to the west. 

The killing sent shockwaves through the tightly controlled Kurdish region, which has prided itself over the past few years on being, unlike the rest of Iraq, a secure haven for foreign investors including dozens of oil and gas companies. 

Traffic came to a standstill in parts of Erbil Monday as students, most of them dressed in black, marched from the spot where Mr. Osman was abducted to the parliament building. A group carried a mock coffin draped in black with the word “azadi,” meaning freedom in Kurdish, scrawled on it. Many waved portraits of Mr. Osman. 

“Democracy is a delusion here,” said one protester, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution for his comments. 

As they reached parliament, which is barricaded behind giant blast walls, many tried to enter but were forcefully pushed back by the riot police. 

Later the parliament speaker, Kamal Kirkuki, addressed the protesters from a distance via loudspeakers, trying to calm them, but was met with loud jeers. 

A similar protest will be held on Wednesday in Sulaimaniya, the region’s other major city and the base of a reform movement called Gorran. 

There were signs on Monday that Mr. Osman’s death was fast becoming a rallying cry for reformists, particularly among the young. 

The directorate of Erbil’s security forces, which are controlled by the region’s governing parties, issued a statement Monday calling Mr. Osman’s killing “a terrorist act” and urged people not to jump to conclusions before the investigation was completed. 

On Saturday, the office of the Kurdistan region’s president, Massoud Barzani, said it was “saddened” by Mr. Osman’s killing while the regional government described it as “a heinous crime designed to undermine the security of the region.” 

Mr. Osman received at least two threats by telephone since January, according to his relatives and friends. 

He contributed articles to a number of publications inside the region and also wrote under a pseudonym for the Sweden-based Kurdistanpost, a website known for its incendiary tone in criticizing the corruption and patronage system associated with the two governing parties. 

Since December he had written satirical articles mocking Mr. Barzani, the Kurdish president, including one titled, “I am in love with Barzani’s daughter,” which appeared to violate local taboos. 

Namo Abdulla contributed reporting.

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