Friday, July 19, 2013

Ex-Presidential candidate attacked by suspected KDP agents in Erbil

Suspected agents loyal to the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in civilian attire attacked ex-Presidential candidate Kamal Said Qadir on Friday in downtown Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Region, where he was planning to hold a protest gathering to talk to the public about the extension of Kurdish President Massoud Barzani's office for another two years as his time as President accelerated towards expiration after two full terms.

The news of the protest gathering was circulated on the media earlier this week and as Sayed Qadir headed to his destination, boxes of tomatoes and eggs already awaited him. He was first pelted with tomatoes and eggs then according to reports civilian dressed men suspected to be Parastin (Protection) agents - the intelligence police established by the KDP - physically attacked him breaking his head.

There were reports that the same men who attacked Sayed Qadir also attacked anybody with a camera photographing, or videoing the scene. Bayan Press reported that their reporter on the field said before the incident took place there were policemen in the area but they left just before the attack.

The Bayan Press reporter has also said the men took Sayed Qadir, after beating him up, in addition to another senior citizen who had dared to say "Why are you doing this to this man?" One single photo surfaced on the online news outlets and social media networks showing Kamal Said Qadir covered in egg whites and blood.

Abdulkhaliq Talaat, Erbil police chief, has told the media that people attacked him because he may have shown no respect for the conservative people of the city as they observed the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. "He came to the place drunk. There were some Syrian [Kurdish] egg-sellers and tomato-sellers there and people attacked him" Talaat has told Bayan Press, "Police were not around when he was attacked. It is true that there are police [patrols] downtown, but they were away from that area. We later took him to hospital"

Bas, a weekly newspaper that's close to the KDP, reported on its website that more than 100 people attacked Sayed Qadir and pelted whim with tomatoes, eggs and yoghurt, too. The newspaper says "eyewitnesses say that Kamal Said Qadir has uttered inappropriate words about the people of Erbil and God" and according to Rudaw, another news outlet close to the KDP, the police chief has said Kamal Said Qadir "was drunk and said in appropriate words on Islam", a news outlet run by the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) which is also an opposition party, did not mention anything about Kamal Said Qadir uttering any words degrading or blasphemous to the Muslim faith and the fasting people of the city. Kurdiu goes on to allege that there were even policemen near the scene of the attack but they did not do anything and just looked on.

Kamal Said Qadir later told Rudaw - the video of which was posted on youtube - in hospital that he was actually fasting. "for your information, I was fasting," he told the reporter. "I just broke my fast, the doctors know this, they gave me a piece of cooky when it was 7:30 pm [time to brake the fasting in Erbil area] so I can break my fasting. This is a tactic used by all the dictatorships, they accuse someone of something that is completely baseless. What is the excuse for me to say blasphemous words in front of Machko Cafe where I suggested for the gathering? does that make any sense?… trust me I have never in my whole life…." and they do not let him finish his words but I am assuming he was going to say "I have never drunk in my whole life"
Kamal Said Qadir After Being Released 
From Hospital

Kamal Said Qadir was the first one to register with the electoral commission to run for the president post. He later dropped out due to financial and administrative issues. The elections were later put off for two years after the parliament passed laws that would extend Barzani's presidency for two years.

Mr. Barzani has been in office for eight years as President of Kurdistan Region. His KDP tried to have Barzani elected as President for another four year term causing an outrage among the opposition parties. In the following deadlock the KDP and their ally Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), who form the majority of the parliament, extended Barzani's office for another two years to give the political parties more time to agree on an amended Presidential Law and a draft Constitution before next presidential elections are held.

related articles: Barzani's not running for office statement only positive with great suspicion at best?