SOUTH KURDISTAN IRAQ : Main suspect in Kurdish journalist Kawa Garmiyani‌’s murder case refuses to attend court

KNNC-net – February 24, 2014 – KALAR, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— The main suspect in the murder case of the anti-corruption Kurdish journalist, Kawa Garmiyani who was shot dead on 5/12/2013 in his parent‌’s house, in front of mother‌’s eyes, is not ready to go to court.

The major suspect in Kawa’s case is Mahmud Sangawi, a military commander of the Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party. In a phone call in July 2012, he threatened Kawa; the audio went viral on social networks and YouTube. Kawa filed a complaint in Kalar Primary Court, but it was of no use. He even asked the American Consulate representative in Sulêmanî for protection. Sangawi was only arrested after Kawa’s family filed a complaint after Kawa’s death.Kalar Criminal Court released Mahmud Sangawi on January 21, 2014. His release brought about demonstrations and condemnation by journalists, civil society activists, university teachers and students, as well as the general public. There have been many statements by Kurdish lobbies and NGOs in Europe to put pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government to reconsider the decision. On 23/2/2014, Sangawi was supposed to be attending court following decisions made in the previous court hearings. However, he did not show up. Kawa Latif, volunteer lawyer in the case, told the weekly Kurdish Awene newspaper that Sangawi‌’s case was to be concluded according to Article 2, Law NO. 6 of 2008 which is related to misuse of mobile phones, as Sangawi threats were made in a phone call.

“He (Sangawi) did not attend and instead appealed the court‌’s decision through his lawyer. It is not lawful to appeal the decision while the procedure has just taken its route,” Latif charged.Lafit adds that the accused is merely postponing the case and wants to avoid the court hearing. Sangawi insists on not commenting, but his lawyer is allowed to do so. His lawyer on the other hand said that he is now in Hewlêr [Erbil], the capital city of the region, and therefore cannot say anything.

Karwan Ahmed, Kawa Garmiyani’s brother, said that his family went to court but the accused was absent. He claimed that they will never allow the blood of his brother to go in vain.

Mahmud Sangawi, Adnan Hamai Mina, a PUK Leadership Member and a few others were arrested but later released by the court due to lack of evidence. Now there is only one person in jail while the others were released under the pressure of the PUK high officials as the local media intensely report on the case and accuse the PUK leaders of interference. Kawa Ahmed Garmyani, a Kurdish journalist investigating corruption in Kurdistan region, was the editor-in-chief of Rayal magazine and a correspondent for Awene newspaper, he was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on December 5, 2013 in Kalar town, in Sulaimaniyah province. He was shot in front of his house, and later died at the hospital.