Legal accusations

To date, there is no written information about the legal accusations made by the Iraqi state against the two journalists, neither from Iraqi authorities nor from the German Embassy in Baghdad. Iraqi press reports indicated that accusations of “illegal entry” and “support of terrorism” might be made by the Iraqi state. Statements in this direction were also made in a telephone conversation between Marlene Förster’s lawyer and employees of the German embassy. At the present time, this information must be regarded as rumors, as it has not been officially confirmed.

Since the two journalists have not yet been deported, it cannot be ruled out that the Iraqi state will initiate legal proceedings against them. If Marlene Förster were to be charged and trialed in Iraq, this would be a novelty for German-Iraqi relations and a further blow to the freedom of the press and media in Iraq.

Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič’s imprisonment shows that the Iraqi state is trying to criminalize critical journalists. It furthermore tries to prevent coverage of the situation of the Yazidi society as well as the current state of war between the Iraqi army and the self-defense forces of the autonomous administration in the Şengal.