On Thursday, July 20, the Erbil criminal court sentenced Sherwani to an additional four years in prison over a complaint by the Erbil Adult Correctional Directorate for allegedly fabricating documents, according to news reports as well as the journalist’s lawyer and brother, who both spoke to CPJ over the phone.
Sherwani, who has been imprisoned since October 2020, was previously scheduled to be released on September 9, 2023, after his sentence was reduced by Kurdistan Regional President Nechirvan Barzani.
“Iraqi Kurdish authorities must drop all charges against journalist Sherwan Sherwani and free him immediately,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. “With the latest decision to extend his imprisonment by four years, Iraqi Kurdish authorities are showing their determination to tell the world how vicious they can be against journalists.”
Sherwani’s lawyer, Ramazan Tartisi, told CPJ that the journalist was accused of falsely signing fellow imprisoned journalist Ghudar Zebari‘s name on a petition submitted by several prisoners in August 2022. Tartisi told CPJ that Zebari was in solitary confinement at the time but had given Sherwani permission to sign on his behalf. Continue