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."> Ruling party demands one billion dollars in defamation lawsuit


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August 3, 2010 Ruling party demands one billion dollars in defamation lawsuit

Metro Center to Defend Journalists

The Kurdistan Democratic Party has filed a one billion US dollar defamation lawsuit, the largest in Iraqi history, against an opposition newspaper, the Metro Center to Defend Journalists said today.

On July 20, Rozhnama, a newspaper affiliated with the main opposition group Change, published a report about illegal oil trade in Iraqi Kurdistan. The story included claims that the two ruling parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, KDP, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK, have made millions of dollars from oil smuggling.

Fazil Mirani, KDP politburo secretary, filed a defamation lawsuit on July 25 demanding one billion US dollars in compensation from the newspaper. The plaintiff filed a separate lawsuit seeking travel ban on Nawshirwan Mustafa, publisher of Rozhnama and head of the Change movement; Azad Chalak, Rozhnama editor-in-chief; and Sirwan Rasheed, who wrote the article.

A court hearing for the travel ban has been scheduled for August 8 in Erbil.

“This is the biggest compensation demand by a plaintiff in the history of Iraqi journalism,” said the Metro Center to Defend Journalists. “We are very concerned about this lawsuit. We believe it sets a precedent that will negatively affect the press in the region and will have a chilling effect on journalists.”

“I was really shocked by the lawsuit,” Rasheed said. “I depended on various sources to write the report. If they (KDP) claim that the information is not correct then they should tell people the correct information.”

Rozhnama, launched in June 2007, is published by Wisha Company. Nawshirwan Mustafa, leader of Goran (Change) Movement established the company in 2006.

Metro Center to Defend Journalists is an independent organization defending journalists and press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan. The organization represents the Baghdad-based Journalists Freedoms Observatory in Kurdistan Region.

For more information, contact:

Mariwan Hama-Saeed, director: 009647701940930 (Kurdish, Arabic and English) Rahman Gharib, coordinator: 009647701523300 (Kurdish and Arabic) E-Mail: metroiraq@gmail.com , rahmangarib@yahoo.com

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