Farhad Pirbal. Photo: file / Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish writer and academic, Farhad Pirbal, has been arrested in Erbil for the alleged defamation of a Turkmen lawmaker.
“On Sunday, at 11 am, Farhad Pirbal was arrested under an order issued by the public prosecutor, according to article 226 of the Iraqi penal code,” Director of Erbil Police Department Abdulkhaliq Talaat told Rudaw.
His arrest comes after a lawsuit was filed against him at the public prosecutor’s office in Erbil.
The penal code stipulates: “Any person publicly humiliating the parliament, government, courts, armed forces, government establishments, public authorities, official or semi-official offices, will be sentenced by imprisonment for no more than seven years or a specific amount of money.”
A video showing a person who appears to be Pirbal recently surfaced on social media. The person in the video is seen speaking against Mona Qahwachi, a Turkmen Front MP in the Kurdistan Region parliament.
Pirbal’s family issued a statement following his arrest, saying the writer has psychological problems and urged authorities to take the necessary steps to rehabilitate him.
“We, the family of Dr. Farhad, are very saddened by his inappropriate and unfair behavior in the Kurdistan Region’s cities and towns, especially in the city of Erbil, and especially by his verbal attacks and foul language against public figures and officials. We seek an apology from all the parties,” the statement reads.
“He is suffering from psychological problems and is addicted to drugs. His health conditions are very bad. … He is currently a threat to the safety and security of the public. Hence, we call on the KRG to take quick and appropriate measures against him,” the statement details.
Pirbal is a well known writer and academic at Salahaddin University. He was born in 1961 in Erbil.
He has a doctorate on ‘the history of Kurdish literature’, which he studied at Paris-Sorbonne University in France.
The writer has been a lecturer at Salahaddin University since 1994, and has authored more than 43 books.