Lawyers request terror charges

First court session for the murder of Khwanas Wrya held

SULAYMANIYAH — The Sulaymaniyah Court held its first session Tuesday in the murder case of Khwanas Wrya, a young theater actor from Chamchamal. Wrya was fatally shot by a motorcyclist in the Chamchamal market on June 22, 2023, when he was in his twenties.

Wrya’s murder sparked widespread outrage across the region. The accused, Hersh Karim, had posted on Facebook less than 24 hours before his arrest, stating he “would not allow insult to the Prophet of God” and accused Khwanas of doing so.

Known in his town for his critical views on religious issues, Wrya’s death was seen as stemming from ideological differences, prompting discussions on religion and criticism of religious beliefs. While some with radical Islamic views praised the killer, others who value public life and freedom of expression condemned the act vehemently.

An old video of Wrya discussing murder resurfaced on social media after his death, where he said, “There is no justification for taking someone’s life and committing murder,” unknowingly foreshadowing his own fate.

Karsan Fazil, a member of a legal team representing Khwanas Wrya’s family, told 964media that Wrya was targeted for his opinions and had received several threats before his death.

“In the first session, we requested the charge be changed from Article 406 to terrorism because Khwanas was terrorized and openly shot more than 10 times in the middle of the market in front of people,” Fazil said.

The session included testimonies from the suspect, Wrya’s family, friends, and eyewitnesses to the incident. The next court date is set for April 29, 2024.

The perpetrator, a member of the security forces, was reportedly influenced by radical Islamism.