RZHWAN IS A JOURNALIST

Support NUJ member and political journalist Rzhwan Amin

The National Union of Journalists' Manchester and Salford branch has launched a campaign in support of its member - Rzhwan Amin, a political journalist who fled Iraq in 2010 after being threatened as a result of newspaper articles he wrote at the time of the elections.

Rzhwan wrote political reports for a newspaper in Kirkuk, a city which is disputed territory in Iraq and has one of the country's biggest oilfields on its doorstep.

Rzhwan left Iraq after he was summoned to appear at a meeting of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party (PUK) to discuss his journalism – he was warned by a friend not to attend because it was a trap. PUK, whose leader is Jalal Al Talabani, the current president of Iraq, has a history of dissension with other Kurdish political organisations.
The government denies that Rzhwan is a journalist despite evidence clearly showing that he is.

Rzhwan escaped through Turkey and ended up in the UK where he claimed asylum in June 2010. His immigration case was refused by the first judge who ruled out an expert's report on Iraq and did not attach any weight to letters written by academics. In addition to his newspaper journalism, Rzhwan wrote several political articles while he was studying Philosophy at Baghdad University.

Support for Rzhwan comes from many who confirm his story, including:
  • The Kurdistan Journalists' Syndicate
  • The editor of a newspaper in Kirkuk
  • The former director of a TV station in Kirkuk
  • Iraq's Journalists Freedom Observatory (JFO)
  • A journalist at Charmu newspaper in Kirkuk
  • Reporters Without Borders