10 years after Iraq invasion, activists honoured


From the the BRussells Tribunal in Belgium:

Press release: BRussells Awards for Resistance and Solidarity

by BT on 26-01-2013

In the frame of the upcoming 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the BRussells Tribunal decided to organize a prize: The BRussells Awards for Resistance and Solidarity

Uday Al Zaidi - Ayse Berktay

Uday Al Zaidi – Ayse Berktay

Press release                                                                                         BRussells Tribunal

The BRussells Tribunal started as the opening session of the World Tribunal on Iraq, a people’s court in the tradition of the Russell Tribunal on Vietnam. It has become a peace organisation and a network of academics and activists that since 10 years protests against the illegality of the invasion, the crimes of the occupying forces and the US installed regime. The BRussells Awards for Resistance and Solidarity consist of two categories: a Prize for International Solidarity, the defence of justice and international law, to be handed out to an international activist and a Prize for the Defense of Human Rights: the Resistance Award, to be handed out to an Iraqi activist. The ceremony of the handing over of the awards will be held on March 19th in Kaaitheater, a prestigious cultural venue in Brussels, and on March 20th in Ghent, in the “Expeditie”. The BRussells Awards for Resistance and Solidarity are supported by several NGO’s and cultural institutions. After cautious deliberation the BRussells Tribunal has decided to publicize the name of the winners.

1.THE RESISTANCE AWARD

Muntadher Al Zaidi, while throwing his shoes at Bush and Maliki

Uday Al Zaidi

Muntadher Al Zaidi, while throwing his shoes at Bush and Maliki, and Uday Al Zaidi

The Award for Resistance goes to Uday Al Zaidi. He is the brother of Munthader Al Zaidi and the president of The Popular Movement to Save Iraq. He is one of the organizers of the protests against the occupation that have been taken place since January 2011 in almost all of the 18 provinces in Iraq. On 31 December 2011, the Popular Movement to Save Iraq, released a statement that called for a new front “to resist the second face of the occupation.” It goes: “The youth will remain in the streets calling for the departure of every last American soldier, under whatever terms or form that the occupation government might adopt.” The statement further called on the Iraqi people “to prepare to open up a new front to resist the second face of the occupation represented by its sectarian government and its divisive constitution…”

Uday Al Zaidi, he himself a Shia, insists on the non-sectarian character of the protests. And therefore he represents the will of the Iraqi people to unite in order to regain its full sovereignty. That is why the BRussells Tribunal decided to give its Award for Resistance to him, as a representative of the Iraqi people in resistance against 10 years of inhuman and illegal occupation. The massive protests, which started after the invasion in 2003 and expanded with the Arab spring, are reaching a climax now. People have already coined it ‘Tawhra’, the Iraqi revolution.

On 25 January 2013 Uday Al-Zaidi and several of his colleagues were arrested in Basra. They had been there for the past 10 days to organise demonstrations and they would attend the big Friday 25th demonstration. Uday has been released, but his arrested friends seem to have disappeared. The BRussells Tribunal and the other organizations of the International Anti-Occupation Network (IAON) are seriously alarmed by this information and very concerned for their safety and wellbeing, given the horrendous situation in the Iraqi prisons, where torture, rape and assassinations are endemic.

We demand their immediate release.

2.THE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY AWARD

Ayse Berktay Hacimĭrzaoğlu

The Award for International Solidarity goes to Ayse Berktay Hacimĭrzaoğlu, translator and political activist. Ayse Berktay was one of the co-founders of the World Tribunal on Iraq, the first serious attempt to condemn the illegality and the illegitimacy of the invasion. She was there from the first hour and was one of the main organizers of the culminating session of the World Tribunal in Istanbul, held in the Topkapi Palace in June 2005. Without Ayse Berktay, this worldwide action, with 24 sessions all over the planet, might never have come into existence, or at least not in the same way. She incarnated so to speak the World Tribunal on Iraq.

In October 2011 Ayse was arrested in Turkey and has been held in pre-trial detention ever since on charges of terrorism because of her solidarity with the Kurdish people. She was apprehended in the frame of the so-called KCK operations, in which already some 10.000 people have been arrested. Her activities and multiple international travels for the World Tribunal on Iraq are cited in the indictment as proof of her allegedly illegal activities. With this award we want to protest this Kafkaesque accusation. We request a fair trial, for her and the thousands of Kurdish people in jail. We demand her immediate release, following the examples of Professor Busra Ersanli’s and Ragip Zarakolu’s release from prison during the course of the KCK trials. We hope that Ayse Berktay will be able to come to Brussels in March and collect the award in person.

MORE INFORMATION
About Uday Al-Zaidi
An appeal by Uday Al Zaidi to the people in Southern Iraq
About Ayse Berktay
Letter From Istanbul Bakirkoy Women’s Prison
summary and proposals
lawyers statement
contact: brussellsprize@brussellstribunal.org   Lieven De Cauter: + 32 477 617 420
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