Turkish prosecutor probes Kurdish journalist for calling Iranian regime 'bloody'

Kurdistan TV's correspondent could face up to three years in prison for a tweet criticizing Iran's attacks on Kurdish opposition.
author_image Rawa Barwari

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Mehmet Sanri, a correspondent in Istanbul who works for the Erbil-based Kurdistan TV, found himself the target of a Turkish prosecutor for calling the Islamic Republic of Iran “bloody.”

He was criticizing the Tehran regime’s hanging of political prisoners and deadly missile attacks last month on Kurdish opposition headquarters inside the Kurdistan Region.

An Istanbul prosecutor accused Sanri of “inciting public hatred and enmity” for a tweet he posted, the journalist told Kurdistan 24 over the phone from Istanbul on Monday.

“PDK-I, PAK, and PSK are tomorrow holding a condolences ceremony for the Koya martyrs of KDP-I and PDKI, as well as Panahi and other Kurdish youth who were hanged by the bloody Islamic Republic of Iran,” he wrote on Twitter on Sept. 10 in Turkish.

Attached, he shared a screenshot of an invitation he had received from PAK and PSK, two small Kurdish factions in Turkey.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched missiles at the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and Kurdistan Democratic Party - Iran (KDPI) near the town of Koya, southeast of the Kurdistan Region’s capital Erbil two days earlier.

A barrage of rockets fired from inside Iran killed at least 17 fighters and civilians in Koya while wounding 45 others.

Ramin Hossein Panahi, who Sanri mentioned in his tweet, was a Kurdish political prisoner Iran hanged along with two other activists, Loghman and Zaniar Moradi, the same morning of the attacks.

“I believe the word ‘bloody’ triggered the lawsuit against me. The prosecutor must have been offended by my description of the Islamic Republic as a murderous regime. But I am not the only one saying this, the whole world sees it this way,” Sanri told Kurdistan 24.

Ramin Hossein Panahi (left) and fellow Kurdish activists Loghman and Zaniar Moradi. (Photo: Archive)
Ramin Hossein Panahi (left) and fellow Kurdish activists Loghman and Zaniar Moradi. (Photo: Archive)

He stated what he wrote in the tweet was merely informational and the only thing containing a subjective view was the word “bloody.”

“There is no legitimacy that can be given to the Iranian regime for its domestic oppression, attacks in the region, and its violations of international norms,” he added.

“The way I express my opinions about Iran is up to me, and I am not going to shy away from saying them.”

Earlier this month, two police officers tasked by the “media crimes bureau” of the Istanbul public prosecutor’s office interrogated Sanri.

“In short, this is the state of Erdogan’s democracy in Turkey. There are hundreds of people in Turkish jails merely for reasons like this,” he said separately in a statement, referring to an ongoing crackdown on freedom of media and expression under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

If a court finds him guilty, Sanri could face up to three years in prison.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany