Statement by Former Security Chief Angers Family of Sulaimani Mayor

09/11/2012 RUDAW – By NAWZAD MAHMOOD and SAMAN BASHARATI – SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Speaking to a local TV channel, the former director of Sulaimani’s security department (Asayish) reopened discussions about the case of the city’s former mayor, Zana Hama Salih. Hakim Qadir Hama Hakim Qadir raised questions about the death of Salih – ruled a suicide – in an interview on NRT TV. Salih’s family has criticized Hakim Qadir for reopening the case and vowed to file a complaint against him.

For his part, the Hakim said, “I am only stating the truth. The family can go ahead and file their complaint against me.”  On Oct. 26, Hakim Qadir spoke to NRT TV about the death of the former mayor and the case of the Qula Raysi in Sulaimani. Salih was in jail due to allegations of involvement in a $500 million corruption case involving the lands.

Hakim Qadir denied having any information on the death of the former mayor, and said, “If he was murdered, then the murderer killed him to fight me.”

Omar Hama Ali, the brother of Haji Hussein who was arrested with the former mayor on corruption charges, said, “We deny the comments of Hakim Qadir. He has vilified our name and misinformed the public. We will file a complaint against him.” Ali, who is also his brother’s attorney, added, “Mr. Hakim Qadir is trying to hide the truth with these sorts of comments. There are three cases against him in court.” According to Ali, the cases against Hakim Qadir include one for trespassing his authority as director of the Asayish and one for investigating individuals at the Asayish office for political reasons. The third is personal. “It is about an illegal demand that he made of me,” Ali said. “He called me to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political bureau office and asked me to do something illegal.”

Ali’s family is cooperating with the family of the former mayor to respond to Hakim Qadir’s comments and bring him to court.  He said that Hakim Qadir had labelled both families as criminals. “We have his voice recorded. We will present the evidence in court,” he said.

Furthermore, Ali said that Hakim Qadir “was the highest authority among Asayish officers. It is doubtful that anyone would be killed in the Asayish without his direct knowledge.” Ali also notes that on April 14, the day of Salih’s death, Hakim Qadir offered to help facilitate visits to the prison, but later, in the NRT TV interview, claimed to have quit working for the Asayish by that time.

Salih was arrested by the Asayish forces on April 8, a week before his death. The committee established to investigate the case concluded that the former mayor hanged himself. The court has since closed Salih’s case, but there are still a number of individuals in detention in relation to the matter Salih was arrested for, including Hussein. Six weeks ago, one of the individuals was tried. Hakim Qadir attended the trial. “I went to court as a witness,” he said. Sakar Jamal, the widow of the former mayor, told Rudaw, “I will not be silent in the face of this case.”

Regarding Hakim Qadir’s comments, Jamal said, “All his statements are based on lies. I have filed a complaint against him.”

She added, “The court has done good work on the case. I am hoping for more from the court. But if the court does not take the case seriously and does not punish the perpetuators, I will file a complaint abroad in The Hague. The perpetuators will not get away with shedding Salih’s blood this easily.” On Nov. 3, Hussein’s family published a statement that said: “From the very beginning of this case, there have been made up scenarios. People were asked to be witnesses on invented accusations against the mayor.” “Reports and evidence presented in this case have been stolen,” the statement continued. “This is unlawful. Furthermore, the prisoners have been tortured.” Hakim Qadir told Rudaw that he is not worried about the complaint filed against him by the family and that he will let the court decide. “Let them file their complaint. I have only stated the truth.”