Press release :  On our own behalf: KurdWatch employee threatened with death

KurdWatch, August 13, 2013 – Siamend Hajo, a KurdWatch employee, is being threatened with death for his criticism of the human rights abuses of the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Siamend Hajo is one of several journalists for the website KurdWatch, which has for the past two years regularly reported on the PYD’s human rights abuses in Syria’s Kurdish regions. Intimidation, kidnappings, torture, and even killings by the PYD and its militia, the so-called People’s Defense Units (YPG), are the order of the day there. Siamend Hajo has also publicly and critically commented on the PYD’s politics outside of his work for KurdWatch.

Already in early July 2013, the State Office of Criminal Investigations (Landeskriminalamt) Berlin warned him that due to these political positions, he was the subject of harsh criticism in PKK circles. He was advised to be »careful«. Last week, acquaintances in Syria received an anonymous phone call according to which the PYD is planning to »liquidate Siamend Hajo within a week«.

The PKK and PYD’s relentless way of dealing with critics is well known and, in the case of the PKK, dates back to the 1980s. At the same time, we assume that the »warnings« are attempts at intimidation. KurdWatch will continue to report on human rights abuses in Syria’s Kurdish regions regardless of who commits the abuse.