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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Kurdistan court clears Peshmerga commander in slain journalist’s case

By OMER ŞAYAN 18/1/2015
File photo of Sangawi speaking to reporters.
File photo of Sangawi speaking to reporters.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A court in the city of Kalar exonerated a Kurdish military commander -- who had allegedly made threats against slain journalist Kawa Garmiani -- of ordering the murder.

The court said it had seen no evidence linking Mahmoud Sangawi, a military commander in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), to the December 2013 murder of Garmiani. The verdict still has to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

“No direct or indirect piece of evidence links Mr. Sangawi to the murder,” said the written verdict, in a case that made national and international headlines throughout last year.

One person has already been convicted for the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. But the slain journalist’s brother had accused Sangawi of ordering the killing, which the PUK commander had denied.

Karwan Ahmed, the murdered journalist’s brother, said the verdict had not come as a surprise.

“This was a show trial and we could foretell its outcome,” he told Rudaw, accusing the Kurdish justice system of being “corrupt” and “unfair.”

“The powerful in our country get around the justice system and this case is no exception,” Ahmed said. “The suspect also knew that he would be freed beforehand,” he added.

Garmiani was gunned down by a team of assassins outside his mother’s home in Kalar in early December 2013. He died at the scene.

Several suspects were arrested in the following days, including Sangawi, who was released on bail after 30 days in a Kalar jail.

Prosecutors had charged Sangawi of allegedly ordering the attack on Garmiani. The other suspects were later identified as close relatives of Sangawi, who denied any involvement.

Police investigators later found a voice recording on the murdered journalist’s cell phone, in which Sangawi had threatened Garmiani and warned him against continuing to “slander” him in his articles.

Garmiani was a freelance journalist and the editor of a local periodical.

In an article prior to the phone threat by Sangawi, Garmiani had promised his readers further investigative exposure of “corrupt local officials,” including Sangawi, whom Garmiani accused of illegally seizing plots of land.

Habib Jaf, who had led the defense team for Sangawi, said the court had found no evidence that could implicate his client in the case.

“The supreme court of appeals will also have their verdict soon on this case and after that the case will be discharged,” Jaf said. 

“We will not drop the case until justice is served and the real perpetrators are sentenced,” Ahmed warned. “We will wait until courts are impartial in Kurdistan and punish criminals,” he added.

Sangawi has been commanding Peshmerga forces in Jalawla in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS). 

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Nav | 18/1/2015
Here the fault lies with the weak investigation, the prosecutor did his job and charged Sangawi but didn't have enough evidence to convict even though it's likely that Sangawi gave the order. The shooter which was caught and convicted didn't confess to something like that either. Another thing to consider is other officials also had motiv because he exposed several not just Sangawi.
Reader | 18/1/2015
Everyone know it was Mahmood Sangawi. Mahmud sangawi is a murder, a corrupt leader and a thief and a gangmember of PUK. He have threathened many people ever since. The court is unfair and is corrupt, therfore he is not being sentenced to prison or execution! We will wait for the day of justice when Mahmud sangawi is sentenced to prison. He is a killer!
aNgrYbiRd | 19/1/2015
Justice not served! Sangawi is responsible for the death of Kawa Garmiyani. The entire Kurdish public opinion knows that. The court decision otherwise is an affront to justice system.
Dirbo | 19/1/2015
The corrupt and powerful get away with murder in Kurdistan. Once we are done fighting ISIS terrorism we have a bigger fight against the corrupt system in Kurdistan. Those who are running Kurdistan now have an ocean of Kurdish blood on their hand. We will never let them get away with it!
PUKMURDEREDKAWA | 19/1/2015
it was sangawi who gave the order to kill him, Kawa Garmyani recorded his conversation with sangawi and in that recording sangawi threatened him to death, there is no justice in kurdistan there is no law or nothing, if you want justice you have to do it yourself, if i were kawas brother i would revenge my brother with blood, since the justice system once again let a murderer go free even though there are evidence and proof and motive, the tape proved that sangawi did threaten him to death, he said on the tape "i will come to you and i will do..." i wont write the rest because it was dirty words he used, but in kurdish society when you say i will f**king put your head into your mothers p***y then it means that he will either kill or assault you, and he did say also on the tape he was heading to him right away, like i said if you want revenge or justice you have to get it yourself.
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