Volunteer team advocates for case of Peshmergas beheaded by ISIS

A Peshmerga soldier monitors the border areas in Khanaqin district of Diyala province. Hawry Azad

By KirkukNow

A number of lawyers, civic and political activists voluntarily advocate for the case of Peshmerga prisoners beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS back in 2016 in so that the case is not undermined by the central government in Baghdad or the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG in Ebril.

The formation of the team was announced at a press conference in Kirkuk on Monday, June 13, following a report by KirkukNow in which a captured commander of ISIL confessed the murder of all the Peshmergas held captives by ISIL.

Latif Fatih Faraj, a member of the team, said in the press conference, "After the publication of the report on the website (KirkukNow), we have conducted further investigations on the case, including detailed information available at Hawija police station.”

“Therefore, we have taken this step to ensure that the case takes its own legal path and the perpetrator gets punishment, and to prevent this case from being undermined.”

We have conducted further investigations on the case, including detailed information available at Hawija police station

"We will take a number of legal measures and pressure, the main way is to work through volunteer lawyers so that the case does not go underestimated," he added.

"Another way is to convey our message to both federal and regional governments. The case is significant case and should not be hidden.”

Video: Hawija market, where ISIS displayed a number of Peshmerga prisoners in 2015. KirkukNow

"Legally, we know that the courts are doing their job, but we also know that some cases on shelves get dusty," Faraj said.

“Politically, we are talking to the federal and regional government institutions, the Kirkuk provincial administration and other political parties to take the case seriously,” said Mala Farman, a political observer from Kirkuk.

Last week, on June 9, a report by KirkukNow found out that an ISIL commander currently imprisoned in Kirkuk admitted to slaughtering the Peshmerga prisoners captured by ISIS, mostly from Kirkuk.

"It was in revenge for my brother's murder," he said, shortly after they were displayed in a parade in Hawija, south of Kirkuk, in orange uniforms, held in iron cages.

The ISIL commander was arrested earlier this year on charges of killing his cousin under Article 406 of the Iraqi Penal Code in a security operation in southern Kirkuk, but investigations later revealed that he was responsible for the execution of several other people during ISIS rule.

Kirkuk, June 13, 2022: Kirkuk activists declared a volunteer team for the case of Peshmerga prisoners executed by ISIS. KirkukNow

The key figure of ISIL in Kirkuk confessed to being involved in several crimes, including slaughtering prisoners of war, killing his cousin, killing a Mukhtar and attempt to kill his uncle, according to KirkukNow sources, and participating in several battles against the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces between 2014 to 2017.

On the morning of December 30, 2015, ISIS fighters attacked Kirkuk from four directions (Maryam Beg, Mullah Abdullah, Maktab Khalid and Talward).

Seventeen Peshmergas, mostly from Kirkuk, were captured by ISIS fighters and a few weeks later were displayed in iron cages in Hawija, which was then under ISIS control.

Hazhar Kakeyi, who was appointed as the lawyer of the case by the team announced today, “This decision was taken after the report of KirkukNow.”

"After the publication of the report, we have further investigated the matter, so we considered it necessary to announce this initiative, we want to take responsibility for the case voluntarily, after this conference we will try to meet with the relatives of the Peshmergas.”

"We are also talking to the UN Security Council organizations involved in the excavation of mass graves. We want to see this crime against the Kurdish people as an international case ... and try to bring their bodies back to their families,” Kakeyi said.

In his confession, the ISIS commander said, " the bodies of the Peshmergas are in the village of Bagara near Hawija district and the others are at the house of a judge in Hawija.

The KRG has been trying to count the 62 missing Peshmergas as martyrs since last year, but the relatives of some of them are still searching for them and hope to find them alive. The KRG has not officially decided the fate of these Peshmergas yet.

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