Nearly three years after his murder amid militia threats, an Iraqi court on Sunday imposed the death penalty on the alleged murderer of a well-known Iraqi security analyst known for his knowledge of the Islamic State group.
According to a statement from Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, a criminal court found police officer Ahmed Hamdawi al-Kinani guilty of murdering Hisham al-Hashimi and condemned him to death. Soon after his detention two years ago, a video of al-Kinani purportedly confessing to his alleged role in the crime was made public, but many believe he had the support of armed organizations.
Al-Hashimi’s family, according to a relative, accepted the conviction but insisted that those who gave the assassination orders should also be held accountable.
Due to security concerns, the relative spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Up to this point, we have not discovered who is supporting the killer of Hisham al-Hashimi and who gave the orders to execute,” the relative added.
The matter has been referred to the Court of Cassation, and the family expressed anxiety about the penalty being modified or pardoned there.
The tweet below confirms the news of sentences:
#BREAKING Iraqi court sentences to death convicted killer of academic Hisham al-Hashemi pic.twitter.com/IlTQXF1hPP
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 7, 2023
Killer Opposed Iran-Backed Militias to Death
Al-Hashimi, 47, was shot dead in front of his Baghdad home by two assailants on a motorcycle in July 2020 after getting threats from militias supported by Iran. His murder was caught on surveillance footage, which had a chilling impact on the country and activists who accused the government of failing to control the strong-armed organizations.
Al-Hashimi, a frequent television pundit, rose to prominence in Iraq and beyond for his knowledge of the inner workings of the Islamic State organization. He also provided advice to the U.S.-led coalition during its protracted conflict with the extremists.
He became an outspoken voice opposing the expanding dominance of some of the Iran-backed militias that assisted in the battle of IS after IS’s territorial collapse in December 2017.
In the video shown on official television in 2021, Al-Kinani identified himself as a police officer holding the rank of first lieutenant in the Interior Ministry. He was associated with a militia group, though they did not specify which one, according to two security officials who spoke to The Associated Press shortly after his detention and requested anonymity.
He denied having any connections to violent groups in his so-called confession.
Following Sunday’s decision, the matter will be sent to the Court of Cassation, a court that reviews the decision.
Numerous members of the administration and security forces have connections to the variously integrated and powerful opposing militias. Because of this, succeeding governments have come under fire for allowing them to operate freely.
Activists and other critical voices were frequently killed in Iraq during the crackdown on the 2019 uprising, which many blamed on Iran-backed militias. Al-Hashimi reportedly faced numerous threats from these organizations in the time leading up to his demise.
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