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Iraq: Kirkuk’s ‘Asayish’ Force Commander Denies Force Involved in Arrests | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Kirkuk, Asharq Al-Awsat – Brigadier General Halkut Abdullah, commander of the Kurdish security force “Asayish” [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s security forces] in the city of Kirkuk, has stressed the significance of the role his force and its members “are playing in consolidating security and stability and resisting the armed groups seeking to undermine stability in the city.”

However, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat the Commander stated that there are parties, , “trying to damage the honesty and neutrality of the Asayish force, which is keen to maintain security with the utmost professionalism and in accordance with the law, by making false accusations against it and casting doubt on its honesty.”

“The fabricated accusations being deliberately spread here and there about the performance of the Asayish force, its loyalty, and its role in Kirkuk are baseless and everyone can ascertain this security organ’s honesty and neutrality by asking the American forces deployed in Kirkuk and also the police commander.” Brig. Gen. Abdullah told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“The Asayish force’s tasks are confined only to the collection of intelligence information about the armed groups practicing terrorism in the city and its suburbs and handing over this information to the parties concerned with the arrest of the armed terrorist elements.” He added.

Regarding the Asayish force’s role in arresting suspects, especially at night, and bringing them to Al-Sulaymaniya for questioning, Brig. Gen. Abdullah said the “Asayish force is not involved in the arrests and this force’s units did not and will not arrest anyone in Kirkuk because this is not their task.” He continued that “Anyone who makes these fabricated and baseless accusations against the Asayish force must present evidence of what he says because making false accusations is easy but proving them is the criteria. We as the Asayish force in Kirkuk challenge any person making these accusations against us to come forward even with a single piece of evidence of what he is claiming or bring the name of any person arrested by the Asayish force.”

Irfan Karkukli, leader of the Iraqi Turkoman People’s Party and vice chairman of the security committee in Kirkuk Governorate, backed these remarks and extolled the “Asayish” force’s role in controlling security and consolidating stability in the city and its suburbs.

According to Karkukli, “The city’s security committee chaired by the governor of Kirkuk includes in its membership representatives of all the races and acts in cooperation and coordination with all the security organs in the governorate in addition to the Iraqi army’s two brigades which are deployed in the city and its outskirts.” He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the security committee, which is the highest security authority in the governorate, “supervises the performance of the city’s security organs in addition to organizing and following up the security affairs. In other words, no security organ can or has the authority to carry out any security task without the higher security committee’s knowledge and supervision. Therefore the accusations against the security organs and reports about their performance are absolutely baseless.” Karkukli went on to say, “The security situation in Kirkuk is at present stable in a very good way and the credit for this goes to all the security organs that have joined forces, including the Asayish force which is playing an important role in controlling security.”

Regarding the arrests being carried out in Kirkuk, he said “the arrest orders or warrants are issued by the judiciary in accordance with the law and the security organs, which are the executive parties, implement the judicial orders. There were absolutely no raids on citizens’ houses except with an official order from the judge and in accordance with the law. The security committee watches very closely the security situations and the security organs’ performance in the city and it has not received any complaints from the citizens so far.”

The Turkoman leader referred to the possibility of members of the armed terrorist groups pretending to be security men or from the security committee to arrest certain persons at random, in a barbaric way, and for certain purposes but this absolutely does not mean that the real policemen are the ones carrying out these random arrests. He said the security committee stays up all night until the morning looking after the city’s security and its citizens’ safety and also watches the security organs’ performance and prevents any violation of the law. Those arrested under official judicial warrants are referred to the judiciary and then those who have legal sentences issued against them are moved to the central reform and discipline jail in accordance with the law.