*UPDATE (12/12/2017) Norwegian-Iraqi journalist Samir Obeid was finally declared not guilty in the court on 11 December, his brother-in-law reported, after being detained for seven weeks. He was released from prison the day after.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ) today called on the Iraqi government to release the Iraqi/Norwegian journalist Samir Abeid (also spelled Obeid) who has been detained for more than three weeks.
Abeid was arrested on allegations of spreading fake news, following his publication of an article in which he claimed that the prime minister’s motive behind the Iraqi government taking back the control of the city of Kirkuk was to benefit international oil companies.
This charge was later dropped and replaced with the accusation of communicating with foreign entities.
The IFJ and NJ claim that the detention is related to Abeid’s journalism work and his appearances on TV programs as a political commentator.
Both organisations call on the Iraqi government to drop the accusations against the journalist and release him immediately.
The President of the Norwegian Union of Journalists Hege Iren Frantzen urgeg the Iraqi government to continue maintaining its well respected attitude of not imprisoning Iraqis for their journalistic work or their opinions. “We urge the government to maintain that good practice, and release our colleague Samir Abeid now, she said. “
IFJ President Philippe Leruth called on the Iraqi government to let media professionals carry out their duties freely and “release Abeid without delay.”