A month ago, some Iraqi activists on social media and Arabic news outlet [Arabic link] reported the horrendous murder of Aswad Khudair al Sayehi, in al Naima town, east of Salah al Din Province, 180km north of Baghdad. Aswad was killed after he had been tortured and humiliated and his body dumped in an abandon well.
After the body of the Aswad was found, it has been widely believed that the perpetrators are members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Sheikh Mutlaq al-Shammari, a tribal leader of al-Naima town, has openly accused the Shi'i Badr militia, a faction in PMF led by Hadi al-Amiri, of the kidnapping and the torture of the victim in such hideous manner.
However, investigations have indicated that the perpetrator of this crime was Sabah Mutashar al Hassan al Shammari, the commander of the Tribal Mobilization Forces, a Sunni faction allied with PMF in the majority Sunni province of Salah al-Din.
The torture of the victim lasted for two days. Al Shammari’s bodyguards; Makhlaf Ajmi Sufah al Shammari, Mohammed Falah al Shammari, Obaid Ali Abid al Shammari, Walid Sayar Aswad al Shammari and Abdullah Ali Abid al Shammari also got involved in the torture of the victim whose body then was dumped in the abandoned well.
After finding Aswad’s body, his relatives made a complaint to the Salah al Din police against al Shammari, but the latter denied the accusation claiming that one of his bodyguards had committed the crime under the influence of alcohol.
Al Shammari has a good relationship with Hadi al Amiri, the head of PMF and Badr militia. The latter has been reported to have attended the funeral of the victim and asked his relatives to withdraw the case against al Shammari warning them they were “facing trouble" if they insisted on suing al Shammari.
It is worth mentioning that Sabah al Shammari also confiscated compensations the Iraqi government paid to some victims of a car bomb attack which took place a year ago in south Tikrit, the capital of Salah al Din province. Sabah unlawfully took the money for himself.
The PMF has been recognised by the Iraqi government as being part of the state forces. In September 2017, the Human Rights Watch reported serious violations of international humanitarian law and crimes committed by Iraqi paramilitary forces, including the PMF, which has a history of gross abuses and war crimes.