ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A film crew was prohibited from visiting and covering early voting for the Iraqi parliamentary elections in the Yezidi-populated region of Sinjar (Shingal), located in the western part of the Kurdistan Region.
“We were prevented from covering the early voting by the Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi forces,” Kurdistan 24 reporter Mahir Shingali said, noting that security forces had allowed some Arabic channels to cover the voting process.
Early voting has begun for security force departments which include the Iraqi army, Peshmerga, interior and defense ministries, and counter-terrorism forces.
Iraqi expatriates and asylum seekers also began voting on May 10.
“The Electoral Commission gave us reporting badges, and we are following the law and the instructions given to us by the commission,” Shingali added.
According to the information given to the Kurdistan 24 reporter, the Commission had designated a specific polling station for his team to cover, and he had contacted the Commission to confirm before going to the location.
“The locals were asking the Iraqi security forces to allow our team to do our reporting there, and we called the authorities, but they were unconvinced of our predicament and did not allow us to go to our station,” he explained.
Kurdish forces, with the support of US-led coalition airstrikes, liberated Shingal in November 2015.
However, following the attack and takeover of disputed areas by Iraqi forces and Hashd al-Shaabi militias last October, including Kirkuk and Shingal, the Peshmerga were forced to withdraw.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany