Petition

Freedom for the journalists Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič imprisoned in Iraq! Sign here.

Petition on change.org
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On 20.04.2022, the German journalist Marlene Förster and her Slovenian colleague Matej Kavčič were arrested in northern Iraq. Although they immediately identified themselves as journalists, they were arrested and held for several days in an unknown location. They were then taken to the headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in Baghdad. Only after eight days was there the first and so far only contact with Marlene Förster via the German embassy. There is still no contact whatsoever with Matej Kavčič.

Since 29.04.2022, the international non-governmental organisation “Reporters without Borders” (RSF) has been calling on the German Federal Government to immediately work for the release of Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič. “The conditions in Iraqi prisons are appalling, no human being should have to spend even one day unjustly in them,” said RSF executive director Christian Mihr.

The two journalists were doing research in Şengal on the situation of the Yezidis, who survived the genocide by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in 2014. At that time, the persecution of the Yezidis was reported worldwide – in the meantime, hardly any information about the realities of life on the ground finds its way into the media. The numerous attacks by the Turkish and Iraqi armed forces in and on Şengal also often remain without international attention. We can see the arrests of Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič as an attempt to prevent a resumption of international reporting: for example, only a few days after the arrest of the two journalists, the Iraqi military launched a large-scale military offensive against Yezidi forces in Şengal, forcing 3,500 people to flee.

Christian Mihr (RSF) explains: “With the arrest of these two committed young media workers, the Iraqi authorities show that neither the situation of the Yazidi minority in Sinjar nor the actions of the Turkish forces in this region should get out. We call on Federal Foreign Ministry Annalena Baerbock to stand up for Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič.”

We join this demand.

We demand that the Federal Government of Germany, in particular the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, and the Federal Foreign Office, take immediate action to secure the release of the two journalists Marlene Förster and Matej Kavčič!

We demand the fastest possible contact with Matej Kavčič! Since Slovenia has no diplomatic representation in Iraq, there is an official request to the German Embassy to take over the consular care for Matej Kavčič. The German Embassy must comply with this request without delay.

We demand from the Iraqi authorities to release them. Furthermore, we demand from the Iraqi authorities regular contact through their lawyers, the possibility to write letters, access to books and writing materials as well as contact to each other!

Please join our demands and sign this petition!

First signatories

Lydia Förster, mother of the arrested journalist Marlene Förster

Michael Horst, father of the arrested journalist Marlene Förster

Evelyne Gebhardt (SPD), Former Vice-President of the European Parliament

Emilia Schüle, German actress and dubbing artist

Roman Kühn, Director of the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV)

Jannis Niewöhner, German actor

Majda Širca, journalist, former Slovenian Minister of Culture

Martin Eimermacher, journalist (Die ZEIT)

Andrea Maestro, journalist and editorial director (taz.nord)

Matjaž Zorec, editor-in-chief at Radio Študent

Dr. Beate Hofmann, Bishop of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck (EKKW)

Gesine Lötzsch, Member of the German Parliament (MdB), DIE LINKE

Yanis Varoufakis, Member of the Greek Parliament

Dr. Iztok Šori, Director of the Peace Institute Slovenia

Prof. Dr. med. Dipl. Soz.-päd Gerhard Trabert, RhineMain University of Applied Sciences, non-party candidate for DIE LINKE in the election of the German Federal President 2022

Dr. Benedikt Strunz, Journalist (NDR)

Matthias von Hein, journalist and editor (Deutsche Welle)

Marcus Staiger, journalist and author

Martin Pfaffenzeller, journalist and editor (DER SPIEGEL)

Dr. Dr. h. c. Volker Jung, Church President of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN)

Arne Zupančič, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Science Criticism, Imagination and New Anthropology

Dr. Anica Mikuš-Kos, child psychiatrist, chairperson of “Slovenska Filantropija”

David Goeßmann, freelance journalist and author

Dino Bauk, lawyer and writer

Marco Fuchs, journalist and author (DER SPIEGEL)

Katharina Schipkowski, journalist (taz)

Dr. Michael Wilk, doctor and author

Matjaž Hanžek, former Ombudsman of Slovenia

Farschid Ali Zahedi, journalist and filmmaker

Beke Schulmann, journalist (NDR)

Anke Domscheit-Berg, Member of the German Parliament, DIE LINKE

Grit Gehrau, Regional Chairperson of “die NaturFreunde”, Brandenburg Regional Association

Jelena Aščić, journalist and television presenter

Prof. Dr. Wiebke Dierkes, RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, Wiesbaden

Cornelia Möhring, Member of the German Parliament, DIE LINKE

Prof. Dr. Annette Henninger, Philipps University Marburg

André Zuschlag, Journalist (taz)

Anna Dotti, Freelance Journalist

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Duchrow, University of Heidelberg

Julijana Zita, Chairperson of “MERA25

Dr. Michael Brune, Specialist in Psychiatry and Neurology (Hamburg)

Christian Görker, Member of the German Parliament, DIE LINKE

Claudia Ostarek, pastor for peace work

Prof. Dr. Susanne Maurer, Philipps University Marburg

Dr. Wolfgang A. Obermeier, researcher at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Dr. Malvin Gattinger, University of Amsterdam

Bernd Riexinger, Member of the German Parliament, DIE LINKE

Prof. Dr. Renate Jost, Frankfurt a.M.

Jannis Große, Freelance Journalist

Lea struckmeier, Freelance Journalist

Nina Scholz, Freelance Journalist and Author

Cansu Özdemir, DIE LINKE Hamburg

Wolfgang M. Schmitt, Podcaster and YouTuber

Şeyda Kurt, freelance journalist and author

Isang Enders, cellist

Hannes Stepputat, journalist

Prof. Dr. John Kannankulam, Professorship f. Polit. Oekonomie der BRD und der EU, Philipps-Universtität Marburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Bettina Wuttig, Philipps University Marburg

Sebastian Friedrich, journalist and author

Nelli Tügel, editor at analyse & kritik

Jan Ole Arps, editor at analyse & kritik

Verena Maske, Philipps University Marburg

Stefan Buchen, journalist and author

Prof. Dr. Klara Butting, pastor and author

Julia Fritzsche, journalist and author

Jan Jessen, journalist and editor of the Neue Ruhrzeitung (NRZ)

Prof. Dr. Christl M. Maier, Philipps University Marburg

Dr. Petra Sitte, Member of the Parliament, media policy spokesperson of the parliamentary group DIE LINKE

Marita Günther, M.A., Philipps University Marburg

Dr.in Lea Spahn, Institute for Sports Science and Motology, Philipps University Marburg

Prof. Dr. Ursula Birsl, Democracy Studies, Philipps University Marburg

Gerrit Lange, Research Associate, Religious Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Anne Reber, Philipps University Marburg

Helena Hanneder, M. A. Research Assistant, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Patricia Rams, Research Assistant, Political Science, University of Marburg

Dr. Pierre Hecker, Centre for Near and Middle East Studies (CNMS), Research Associate, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Paulina Rinne, M.A., Project Coordinator, Doctoral Candidate and Curator, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Laura Stumpp, lecturer, member of the Centre for Gender Studies and Feminist Futures Research Marburg

Matti Traußneck, Research Assistant, Philipps University Marburg

Dr.in Denise Bergold-Caldwell, Post-Doc at the Center for Interdisciplinary Gender Research Innsbruck (CGI)