ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Security Forces in Kirkuk are arresting anyone seen wearing jean shorts or ripped jeans, a police spokesperson said on Saturday.
Colonel Afrasyaw Kamel, a spokesperson for Kirkuk Police, told Kurdistan 24 the decision to ban jean shorts and ripped jeans “came from the operation room in Kirkuk,” adding the authorities are prepared “to implement it.”
Another police source confirmed that “the decision was sent to all the police stations to arrest anyone who wears short jeans and jeans with fashionable slits or rips in them.”
According to the source, those caught violating the rule would be detained for up to 24 hours and asked to pledge not to wear the jeans again before they are released.
Several forms of individual freedoms have been abused following the events of Oct. 16, 2017, when Iraqi forces and Shia militias attacked and took over Kirkuk and other disputed territories in response to the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum—Kurdish Peshmerga fighters along with security forces withdrew from those areas to avoid major clashes.
Since then, Kirkuk’s security has deteriorated, and the province has witnessed instability as well as experienced an increasing number of insurgent attacks by Islamic State militants and other unknown gunmen.
A young pop shop owner lamented the negative impact the decision would have on the people trading and dealing with the style of clothing.
“The decision [to ban the clothing] denies an individual his personal and constitutional freedom,” the shop owner told Kurdistan 24. “At the same time, it prevents people from exercising with comfortable sportswear outdoors.”
Initial reports indicate that 20 young individuals have been arrested so far for wearing either short or ripped jeans, while those who pledged not to wear them again have been released from custody.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany