Senior PUK official compares Erbil Asayish to ISIS

FILE: Senior Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Politburo member Mahmoud Sangawi

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SULAIMANI — Senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Politburo Mahmoud Sangawi on Sunday (January 19) compared the members of a security force affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to Islamic State (ISIS) militants for how they treat prisoners.

Sangawi’s accusation came after a PUK Peshmerga member, Majid Braim Abdulla, was found dead in his cell at an Erbil Asayish facility on January 16.

The Erbil Asayish had accused Abdulla of having 60 kilograms of drugs in his possession. According to the Asayish, the cause of death was suicide. He was reportedly found hanging in his cell.

After his death the Asayish obtained a search warrant for Abdulla’s home.

Sangawi, however, accused the members of the unit of being involved in his death.

“The Asayish had a hand in the death of our Peshmerga. They are nothing less than ISIS and ISIS used to kill our brothers and comrades like this. What they are doing is Ba’ath regime policy,” Sangawi said.

Sangawi called on the PUK to withdraw from the Kurdistan Regional Government, where they sit in coalition with the KDP and the Change Movement.

“Withdraw from this terrorist government,” he demanded of the PUK.



In response, the Erbil Asayish on Monday accused Sangawi of being a “known smuggler” and that his broadside was motivated by his desire to protect illicit enterprise.

“With an illogical manner and on a low-level so like himself, he attacked the Asayish forces and defamed the sincere people and sons of this nation and the formal institutions of the Kurdistan Region,” the Erbil Asayish Directorate said.

“We know smuggling generates in mayhem. Thus, it is not surprising that a known smuggler through the border crossings in Garmiyan would defend a mafia network,” the statement added.

“Our agency assumes it as its right to take any legal procedure against any illegitimate charge or defamation against our agencies and forces.”

The Asayish, which means security in Kurdish, are a police and intelligence agency that is endowed with wide-ranging powers. Asayish units are associated with the KDP in Duhok and Erbil governorates and with the PUK in Sulaimani and Halabja.

Last year, Sangawi was prevented from entering Erbil to attend a PUK party meeting over whether Kurdish parties should run on a joint list during since-postponed provincial elections. The move set off several tense days where KDP party offices were shot up in Sulaimani and PUK ones were attacked in Erbil.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 3:32 p.m.