Hello, I hope everyone is doing very well out there.
After a long journey from a snowy Halabja, we were briefly stopped at a checkpoint at the entrance to the town of Darbandikhan. After about 15 minutes of questioning we were free, and we arrived in the town with snow still on our backs and rested in the town overnight. Luckily I knew someone there, this made life quite easy – rather than looking for a place to camp, we had a place to stay and next day we got a lift.
I was travelling with Richie who I met in Sulaymaniyeh and he came to visit me in Halabja, he has cycled from the UK, on and off for the last two years. As the closest border for his onwards journey was closed due to heavy snow, he asked if we could travel together to another border.
Unfortunately we arrived at a wrong border which isn’t under the control of the regional Kurdish government, but under the Iraqi central government control. They arrested both of us and after an investigation they released me, but they held Richie. He was imprisoned for two nights and held in custody for five days until they cleared him today. I didn’t leave him alone and tried my best to help him as a friend, as I’ve known him since the 25th December through my Occupy friends in Sulaymaniyeh. I did my best to make sure he is released before I head on with my peace journey.
What we have gone through is a long story including his days of imprisonment, and my journey with him to Sulaymaniyeh and back in a car to sort out this problem, and staying in a military zone despite I didn’t like doing that.
Now we are thinking what to do next here in the town of Khanaqin.