Farmer and Kurdish representative released on bail

Fate of Topzawa military base unresolved amid dispute with villagers in Kirkuk

KIRKUK, December 27 — After spending three days in detention, Sati’ Nasih, a representative of the Kurdish-populated village of Topzawa, along with local farmer Soran Nazim, were released on bail on Wednesday.

The arrests stemmed from a complaint by the 11th Division of the Iraqi army, accusing Nasih and Nazim of insults and inciting villagers to gather and demonstrate inside the Topzawa military base.

Nawzad Star, the detainees’ lawyer, revealed to 964 that the judge sanctioned their release from the Yaichi police station on bail amounting to 1 million Iraqi dinars each, pending a review of Nasih’s statements to ascertain whether he “insulted the army.”

Topzawa’s representative faces two complaints, one under Article 229 for insulting a civil servant on duty and another under Article 210 for inciting rallies and demonstrations.

Situated in the Yaichi district, 11 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, the old Topzawa military base is located in Topzawa village, spanning 30 dunam.

For months, a dispute has simmered between Kurdish villagers in Topzawa and Iraqi army forces regarding the fate of the old military base in Topzawa. While the villagers advocate transforming it into a monument, the Iraqi army prefers to reconstruct the old military facility in a move that has sparked protests from the villagers.

Kurdish villagers insist that due to the historical significance of the Anfal Genocide associated with this military base in the region, it should be transformed into a monument as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives in the infamous facility.

The Anfal Genocide, carried out by the Ba’athist regime from February to September 1988, specifically targeted rural Kurds with the aim of eliminating Kurdish rebel groups and Arabizing strategic parts of Kirkuk Governorate.

Kurds and Turkmens have filed a complaint to restore the ownership of the land taken from them by Ba’athist regime in the region.