Kurdish Peshmerga Awaiting Execution in Iranian Prison

3/10/2012 RUDAW By SAKAR ABDULLAZADA and NAWZAD MAHMOUD – SAYID SADIQ, Kurdistan Region — Ismat Hussein Bawa has asked several people to save his son from execution. “I will lose my son. I have begged everyone I have contacted to save my son,” said Bawa.It has been one week since Bawa met his son in the Iranian intelligence agency prison in Sina city. “My son has totally lost hope. He knows he will be executed and he is waiting for that moment,” Bawa said.

Bawa’s son told his mother during the meeting that he had been informed that he would be executed a month before Ramadan, but that didn’t happen for unknown reasons. He said that now he could be executed at any moment.

Omar Karim Sharif, Bawa’s son, 32, and a native of the small town of Sayid Sadiq was arrested in 2000 while serving as an armed member of the Democratic Socialist Party of Kurdistan (PDSK). He was charged with murdering Ismail Muzzami, an Iranian intelligence deputy in Mariwan, Iran. Sharif was arrested by the security forces in Sulaimani and was handed over to the Iranian intellgence. Abdullah Haji Mahmoud, director of the PDSK political bureau, told Rudaw, “We handed him over to the Asayish (security) of Sulaimani. We suggested that a special committee should try him in Sulaimani, but they handed him over to Iran.”

Mahmoud said that they have carried out their own investigation and found that Sharif was not involved in that crime “We have some witnesses who can prove that Sharif was in his own house at the time the deputy was murdered. We have tried many times to save him through contacting the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). We tried to save him again 10 days ago but they told us nothing about his fate.”

Mahmoud denied having warm relations with Iran. “If this was true, we could have saved our member from their prison.” After 25 months in prison, the revolutionary court in Sina gave Sharif the death penalty. He was also given 15 years in prison due to his involvement in the murder. Osman Karim Sharif has been trying to save his brother for 12 years. He thinks that the delay in his execution is related to a change in management in the prison and documents that have been brought forward in his case.

“We have presented documents that prove the innocence of my brother, but the court has not listened,” he said. “The father of the victim said that the investigation and the circumstances of the crime suggest that Sharif was not involved in the murder of his son.” Osman Sharif also said that he had visited the judge in the case and begged him to treat his brother justly. He reports that the judge said, “I swear to God that your brother is as innocent as I am in relation to this crime. But I was given orders to ask him certain questions and send him back to the prison. If they release your brother, then they have to put some intelligence members in prison instead.”

Osman Sharif talked about the days before his brother was arrested by security forces in Sulaimani. He said that the political bureau of PDSK called him and said, “There are charges against Sharif, but we will not hand him over to Iran. We will interrogate him through a committee consisting of members from Iran and PDSK. We will give our verdict after the investigation.”

“This was why we sent our brother to the Asayish in Sulaimani,” he added.

Sharif told his mother what security forces in Sulaimani did when he turned himself in. He said senior officials of the Asayish started threatening him. That same night, they tied his legs, hands and eyes and placed him in a truck. They covered his body with empty plastic bottles and drove into Iran to turn him into the Iranian intelligence.”

Sharif told his relatives from his prison in Iran that the Asayish chief in Sulaimani at the time was Sarkawt Kubba. Sharif said that Kubba hit his leg very hard and told him, “We will give you to the Iranians.”

It was June 26, 2000 that Sharif turned himself into security forces in Sulaimani. After searching for eight months, his family discovered that he was no longer in the Kurdistan Region but in an Iranian prison.There were three people wanted by the Iranian authorities as suspects in the case. One turned himself in at the same time as Sharif, and the other escaped to Erbil.

Osman Sharif told Rudaw, “Iran asked the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to hand the suspect over, but the KDP refused to do so. He has been imprisoned in Kurdistan Region but not sent to Iran.”

He added, “When PM Nechirvan Barzani and Jalal Talabani visited Iran, we asked them to help us, but nothing has happened so far.”Recently, a PDSK official told Sharif’s family that they had been informed by VEVAK that the main murderer had been arrested.

Mahmoud denied that they have neglected Sharif’s case, saying, “We have carefully carried out our own investigation and our Peshmerga have confirmed that they had no relation to that murder. This is an allegation intended to target our armed forces.” Rudaw contacted the security chief in Sulaimani at that time, Sarkawt Kubba, but he said that he could not remember this incident. “Twelve years is a long time. I cannot remember such a thing,” he said. Kubba, who is now a member of the Change Movement (Gorran), added, “I do not believe such a thing happened. I don’t believe it and we did not turn anyone in to Iran.”