Misleading and malicious statements pertaining to the arrest of Youkhana Yalda Khaie, a member of the Assyro-Chaldean community in Iraqi Kurdistan, have recently appeared in certain media outlets.
On 8 April 2001, Youkhana Yalda Khaie, along with two other persons were arrested under Iraqi criminal law, article 168, for aiding and abetting PKK terrorists including supplying military related equipment.
Mr. Khaie is regularly visited in detention by his relatives and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Mr. Khaie's collaboration with the PKK is well established. He is formally charged with aiding and abetting an illegal terrorist organization. His detention has been extended according to the law. On 23 July 2001, the Public Prosecutor referred his case to the Dohuk Criminal Court. His trial date is set for 2 September 2001.
Interested persons may attend the trial. An independent inquiry by Amnesty International and other accredited human rights organizations is welcomed to assess and verify the circumstances under which Mr. Khaie is charged and being tried, and the treatment he has been receiving while in detention.
Statements in the media by some exile Assyrians claiming that Mr. Khaie was arrested to take over his land or to prevent him from raising funds to built a church, and that he is being victimized for being a Christian are untrue, baseless and malicious. These and other similar statements alleging Muslim-Christian enmity is an attempt to cause communal discord.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) endeavour to apply the rule of law to all citizens of Iraqi Kurdistan regardless of their ethnic origins or religion.
The KDP and the KRG reaffirm their commitment to the promotion of friendship and mutual respect among all communities in Iraqi Kurdistan. During the past decade, substantial progress has been made in supporting the development of a society where national, cultural and civil rights, pluralism, and religious freedom are promoted and protected by the law throughout the region.