Kurdish man sentenced to 11 years in prison for stealing milk, diaper

A court sentenced a Kurdish man to 11 years in jail for stealing milk and diaper for his children on Sunday. His family is currently appealing to reduce his sentence.

GARMIYAN, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A court sentenced a Kurdish man to 11 years in jail for stealing milk and diaper for his children on Sunday. His family is currently appealing to reduce his sentence.

Ahmed, whose name was changed by Kurdistan24 to preserve anonymity, is a Kurdish man from the town of Kirfri, located in the south of Kirkuk. He has been held in custody for a year now for stealing milk and diapers from a market to provide for his children.

Recently, the court sentenced Ahmed to 11 years in prison which generated a widespread outrage and criticism from the public on social media.

Ahmed is a government employee with a salary of IQD 300,000 (US $255) per month, but has been receiving IQD 163,000 ($139) for more than a year due to austerity measures taken by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in attempts to tackle the current financial crisis.

According to his family, they pay IQD 150,000 in rent for their house, leaving almost nothing to spend on daily needs.

He was caught stealing milk and diapers 14 times from the same market. “There was cash in the shop and more expensive items, but he never touched them,” the shopkeeper told Kurdistan24.

“I forgave him during the first session in court after I discovered he was poor and with several children,” the shopkeeper added.

Kurdistan24 visited Kifri Prison to interview Ahmed regarding his case. “I was receiving my salary once every two months, and I had to pay rent for the house,” he said.

“I did this [stole milk and diapers] because I had nothing. I never thought about stealing in all my life, but when I would go back home in the afternoon, I would see my children needed milk and diapers. I could do nothing about it,” Ahmed cried.

Ahmed’s wife expressed her concern over the court’s decision to Kurdistan24, calling on the KRG and the court to at least lower the number of years in prison.

“We have nobody to [financially] take care of these children. We call on the government to help us by either releasing him or reducing his sentence in jail,” she said.

Mohammed Salim, a lawyer in Kifri, stated that although the punishment for theft is fixed based on the Iraqi penal code, his family can appeal and request the court reconsider its decision.

 

Editing by G. H. Renaud