Peregraf’s editor-in-chief wins freedom of information lawsuit against Speaker of Kurdistan Parliament

10-11-2022 03:03


In a major decision, a judge in Sulaymaniyah on Thursday (November 10) ruled in favor of Peregraf’s Editor-in-Chief Surkew Mohammed in his freedom of information lawsuit against Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament Rewaz Fayaq.

The lawsuit was filed to test procedures under the Right to Obtain Information Act (No. 11, 2013) and ensure transparency in public affairs.

In June 2022, Mohammed made a formal request through Sulaymaniyah’s notary office seeking information about how the speaker’s office has spent public funds since July 2019.

When Fayaq failed to respond to the request, the journalist took the case to court.

Mohammed was represented in the case by Karzan Fazil, a lawyer and head of the Democracy and Human Rights Development Centre (DHRD).

During Thursday’s hearing, which was the fourth since the lawsuit was filed in August, the judge questioned both the plaintiff and counsel for the defendant before rendering judgement.

Mohammed stressed the importance of freedom of information in the public interest and that the appropriate legal procedures had been followed.

Sulaymaniyah’s public prosecutor requested that the case be dismissed.

In his ruling, however, the judge said that "the court decided to obligate the defendant…to provide all the data and information referred to in the complaint.”

Speaker Fayaq can appeal the ruling.

Similar lawsuits under the Right to Obtain Information Act seeking data about spending by the offices of Kurdistan Regional President Nechirvan Barzani and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani are currently pending in Erbil.

The next hearing in the cases against the president and prime minister are scheduled for November 16.