The Free Yezidi Foundation is delighted by the judicial decision to release Basima Darwesh. We believe this is the right decision, and today justice was served. An innocent woman and a brave survivor will begin her journey to rebuild a new life.
 
First and foremost, we want to commend Basima’s bravery and courage in telling the full truth to the judges today. We know this was very difficult for her, but she was honest and forthright and we are proud of her strength. This was a deciding factor in the case.
 
Second, we want to thank our legal team and partners that helped to defend Basima and prepare this case. The last weeks have required a lot of time, energy, and effort, but together we have been able to achieve our goal. We would also like to thank international organisations and monitors for paying attention to the welfare of Basima, as well as individuals and institutions in Erbil who have listened to our complaints and acted in defense of the rule of law. We do not believe that Basima should have been charged with a crime in the first place, but we are pleased that the judicial system has now made the right decision to let her go. It is important that the KRG is open to frank and honest criticism, and it is also important to acknowledge when justice is served. We urged some KRG officials to make sure that Basima would have a fair trial and genuine legal defense, and we are glad that this occurred today. We regret that Basima was held and we are relieved by the decision to release her.
 
Finally, we would like to commend the judges in this trial today, without praise or criticism of other judges. FYF was not certain whether Basima would receive a fair trial or if her story would be heard. But when Basima rejected the statement attributed to her, there was silence in the courtroom. It was a powerful act and the judges were affected by her honesty and her true account of what transpired. The leading judge paid close attention to what she said, was working hard to understand what actually happened, and in the end rejected the prosecution’s argument and chain of events. Basima’s defense team declared to the judge its ability and willingness to provide witnesses and further testimony to verify that Basima is not and was never a member or advocate of Daesh. The judicial authorities stated that there was no need for further evidence in this regard, which was a significant victory for the defense. In fact, after adjourning, the prosecution also decided to call for Basima’s release, which effectively put an end to the case.
 
The legal process now grants the government the opportunity to appeal the judge’s decision. We do not expect this to occur, but if it does, her legal defense will be ready. If there is no appeal, Basima will then be released.
 
Needless to say, FYF has maintained contact with Basima’s family throughout this process, and they are relieved that she has finally had her day in court and the correct verdict has been delivered.
 
We once again applaud all those individuals, institutions, and organisations here and abroad that attach importance to the power and the value of the implementation of the rule of law.

Sincerely,

Pari Ibrahim
Executive Director
Free Yezidi Foundation

FYF Executive Director Pari Ibrahim stands before Erbil Criminal Court with lawyers and advocates who worked on the Basima case.