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NUJ demands authorities stop deportation of Kurdish journalist detained in Salford

Iraqi authorities routinely persecute Kurdish journalists

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged UK authorities to stop the deportation of a Kurdish journalist currently detained in Salford.

The union says that Ghazi Ghareeb Zorab, who is seeking asylum in the UK, faces threats to his safety if returned to Iraq.

Zorab was detained on June 26 at the Dallas Court Immigration Centre in Salford when he made a routine visit to report in. He has since been informed he will be deported to Jordan on September 1. He is expected to be onwardly moved from there to Iraq despite fears about credible threats to his life.

The NUJ has expressed grave concern about the dangers Zorab will face if deported, because of his work as a journalist. His reporting on politics in the breakaway Kurdistan region means he is a likely target and could be subjected to violent attacks and torture.

The International Federation of Journalists has highlighted the disregard for journalists’ human rights in Iraqi Kurdistan, with arbitrary arrests and attacks by security forces recorded. In 2022, at least 73 cases of media and rights violations occurred.

The NUJ is calling on UK authorities to demonstrate their commitment to the protection of journalists and halt his deportation. Zorab was unaware he would be detained when reporting at the immigration centre this week, action he had complied with for several months.

If returned to Iraq, the NUJ believes the UK government will be facilitating the persecution of Zorab and putting his life at risk, and “urges the Home Office to urgently reconsider this case in light of the safety risks posed to him because of his work as a journalist.”

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