- After an Iranian court sentenced two Kurdish political prisoners, Ramin Hossein Panahi and Hedayat Allah Abdollahpour, to death, groups of political and civil rights activists called upon the regime’s Chief Justice to overturn the ruling. The Kurdistan Human Rights Network released a statement saying “we are pleading the court to show leniency and call for the abolition of the death sentence for two Kurdish Sunni political prisoners in order to preserve the expediency of the system and strengthen the national unity and security.” Hossein and Abdollahpour were both arrested on June 22, 2017 and subsequently tortured by the Iranian regime while in prison. At the same time, the Iranian government continues to detain Kurdish activists who have organized and participated in the recent demonstrations against the Iranian government. Recently, the Kurdistan Human Rights Association reported that the Iranian government arrested a Kurdish student, Omran Pirmoradi, in Kermanshah.
- Hundreds of teachers in Sulaymaniyah city demonstrated in front of the Directorate of Education demanding that Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi pay them and other teachers their salaries which have gone unpaid for some time now. Protesters held signs asking Abadi to “stop your embargo on the people” and asking “where are your promises” (in reference to Abadi’s promises to deliver government employees in Kurdistan their salaries). The teachers also wrote an open letter to Abdai asking him to pay them their salaries.
- In a press conference, Dindar Zebari, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports revealed that the KRG’s security forces have been holding 4,000 suspected ISIS members over the past few years. Zebari said that 350 of those being held were detained by the Peshmerga in Dibis-Kirkuk in October of 2017. He also said that the KRG didn’t have a detention center for suspected terrorists in Kirkuk prior to the central government of Iraq’s attacks on Kirkuk province on October 16, 2017.
- The Federal Court of Iraq decided not to rule on the legality of the raising of the Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk. The court explained that the issue does not fall within the legal purview of the court. Previously the Speaker of the Kirkuk Provincial Council Rebwar Talabani appealed to the Federal Court on a decision by the Iraqi government to remove the flag despite the fact the provincial council had voted to fly it. On October 16, 2017 Iranian-backed militias raided the Kirkuk governorate and lowered the flag of Kurdistan that was flying next to Iraqi flag.
- Turkey’s attacks on Afrin continued into their third week. The Health Department in Afrin announced the death of 129 civilians since the Turkish attacks started. The Co-Director of the Health Council Angela Rasho also called upon international organizations, such as the Red Cross, to provide health assistance to the wounded in Afrin — asking them to send medicine and medical supplies which are both currently in short supply at local hospitals. The Turkish bombardments over the past week have left many farmers homeless, as they fled to the city center. Most of these artillery attacks were backed by on-the-ground fire and attacks from Islamist militia groups supported by Turkey near Rajo district and Jindires district, west and southwest of Afrin respectively. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that several of its ranking members have been killed in the attacks. The SDF also announced the destruction of several Turkish tanks as they attempted to advance. The Islamist factions backed by Turkey released videos of a Syrian militia abusing captured Kurdish fighters. Meanwhile, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and high-ranking Turkish officials repeated calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Manbij so that Turkey can launch an attack on the SDF presence there. Members of the European Parliament released a document titled “Declaration for Peace and Dialogue: Stop Turkey’s Attacks Against Afrin,” which pressures Turkey to stop its attacks on Afrin. In addition, the Kurdish community across Europe continues protesting against the Turkish aggression against Afrin.
- The Turkish Parliament stripped another lawmaker from the Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of their Parliamentary membership. On Tuesday, Ferhat Encu, a lawmaker on behalf of Sirnak province, was stripped of his Parliamentarian membership and became the seventh HDP lawmaker to be removed from the Turkish Parliament. Encu was jailed by the Turkish government alongside ten other HDP lawmakers on November 4, 2016 and released after more than three months in prison. Only two days after his release, he was imprisoned again on February 17, 2017.
- Turkish police detained the Co-leader of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Mehmet Arslan over his recent criticisms over the attacks on Afrin. The police arrested Arslan in front of his party’s headquarters in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir (Amed). The Turkish police also arrested Fatmagül Demirtag the HDP Provincial Co-chair in Mersin. During a conference in Ankara, the HDP Co-chair Serpil Kemalbay said: “The invasion attempt on Afrin is not legitimate. Afrin is Syrian territory. The people of Afrin who defended their rights during the times of civil war tries to construct a democratic new way of life.”