Committee to Protect Journalists – After 8 months in detention, Syrian journalist Sleman Ahmed faces spying charges in Iraq

Sleman Mohammed Ahmed, an Arabic editor for RojNews, was arrested at the Semalka border crossing (pictured) in October 2023. (Janet Biehl/CC BY-SA 2.0)

The International Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Kurdish authorities to immediately release Syrian journalist Sleman Ahmed, calling his imprisonment “yet another setback to press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan”. Ahmed was arrested by Kurdish authorities in October 2023 and was denied legal representation until May. He is due to stand trial before the Duhok Criminal Court on June 30, facing charges of espionage.

He could face life imprisonment if convicted under a controversial law against acts intended to undermine the stability, sovereignty and security of KRI institutions. Four other Kurdish journalists have previously been convicted under the same law and jailed for between three and six years.