ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said six of their members are still detained by Erbil security – a claim denied by officials in Erbil.
“Six of our members remain arrested by [Kurdistan Democratic Party] KDP security – five of them were arrested three months ago and one was arrested nearly a year ago. We believe problems have been created for them and they were arrested due to their PUK affiliations,” Rebwar Ismael, deputy head of PUK’s main headquarters in Erbil, told Rudaw.
Erbil security has dismissed such claims, saying no PUK member remains in their custody for political reasons.
“Currently, we have arrested no PUK member for political reasons. Those who violate the law will be arrested if an arrest warrant is issued for them, regardless of their political affiliations,” Tariq Nuri, head of Erbil security, told Rudaw.
Recently, the KDP and PUK engaged in a tit-for-tat arrest of party members in their spheres of influence. Last week, they each released
detainees after a call from the prime minister.
The arrests took place amid a brewing feud between the two ruling parties that is stalling
talks to form the next Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The PUK official stressed these politically-motivated arrests are a significant factor in the lingering tensions.
“We call for these meetings to continue in order to ward off these tensions,” Ismael said.
A new round of discussions between the parties of the KRG is expected to begin this week.