Arrest memo against two Shingali protestors under terror law

Ninawa, Dec. 12th 2021- Tension following a demonstration by pro-PKK people in Shingal (Sinjar) against last Turkish cross-border air strikes. Photo from a video by pro-PKK Roj News

By Ammar Aziz in Ninawa

Ninewa Investigation Court has issued arrest warrants two protestors from Shingal under the anti-terrorism law, while more than one source confirmed that the reason was their participation in a demonstration to condemn the Turkish bombing and the publication of a book.

The order issued by the Ninewa Court on December 15th was directed to the concerned authorities for the purpose of arresting the young man and woman from Shingal district, based on the anti-terrorism law, without revealing more details about the charges against them.

Azad Hussain, co-chair of the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal, told (KirkukNow), "After the demonstration that took place in the Sinuny sub-district, the court, unfortunately, issued arrest warrants for them even though their fault is only their participation in the protests."

The demonstration, which was organized in Sinuny sub-district of Shingal district, home to the Ezidi community in Ninewa province, on December 12 to condemn the Turkish bombing of the area led to tension, resulting in the injury of an Iraqi soldier and a number of civilians.

"The young man and woman were arrested, but we do not know their whereabouts now. We seek to solve the problem and release them as soon as possible, because they did not commit any crime except for their participation in that demonstration," Hussein explained.

The demonstration came after the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal decided to stop working hours in government departments and non-governmental organizations in the district, due to the continued bombing of Turkish planes and "the silence of the Iraqi army and government regarding the continuation of these attacks", which angered the Iraqi government.

The Autonomous Administrative Council founded years ago by several Ezidi (Yazidi), Arab parties and other components is administering Shingal region on the ground and is considered close to the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK, which is fighting turkey since 1980s and holds territories in Iraqi Kurdistan region and the disputed territories.

The administrative Council though not recognized by the federal government in Baghdad or the Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government KRG is backed by the locals supporting pro-PKK groups: Ezidkhan Asayish (security), Shingal Struggle units YBSh and YPZh (Women Protection Units) based in Mount Shingal. Ezidkhan Asayish (security) has about 1,000 fighters and is part of YBSh, in charge of the security in the area.

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Ninewa, 2019- a main street in the center of Shingal district. KirkukNow

End of October 2020, the fighters of YBSh withdrew from their bases and offices in Shingal to the outskirts in order to deploy Iraqi federal police according to Shingal agreement between Baghdad and Erbil. Part of them has joined regiment 80 of pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces PMF.

In October 2020, the Iraqi government and the KRG signed the Shingal Agreement aimed to reorganize the security and administrative sectors in the district, under which local police, national security and intelligence run the security of the town, while the Iraqi army forces would be deployed in the suburbs yet it has not been fully implemented up today.

The agreement was hailed by Baghdad, Erbil, USA, United Nations and Ankara as it leaves no excuse for any militia including the PKK to stay in town.

On December 7th, a Turkish bombardment targeted the vehicle of Marwan Badal Haji, the head of the Sinjar Struggle Units YBSh. Haji was killed and his two daughters were slightly injured.

Few days later, Turkish planes bombed the headquarters of the Autonomous Administration Council in Khana Sur in Shingal, which was previously the headquarters of the Lalish Cultural and Social Center.

Khodida Joki, director of the Sinuny district said The two arrested persons, one of them is a young woman from Dokari village and the other is a young man from the Khana Sur complex in Shingal , “but we do not know who filed a complaint against them, except that the security services gave information and pictures of the young man and woman to the concerned authorities."

Some of the participants in the Sinuni demonstration are accused of affiliation to the pro-PKK Shingal Resistance Units YBSh and the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal.

An informed source in Shingal told (KirkukNow), "On December 22, the Ezidi young man and woman published a book about Abdullah Ocalan (the imprisoned leader of the PKK) at the center of Sinuni district, and the security forces have arrested them since that day and they have not been released so far."

The source revealed that the tension and clashes that occurred on December 12 in Sinuni district arose after the funeral ceremonies of one of the victims of the Turkish bombing, and as a result the security forces handed over the names of 70 people as defendants to the court, which in turn issued arrest warrants against them.

In the Ezidi-dominant region of Shingal, only three thousand square kilometers, Baghdad federal and Erbil regional governments compete to establish their rule: three local administrations want to administer the district, and eight different armed groups are deployed.

The militant groups are PMF, YBSh and Ezidkhan Asayish which are pro-PKK, federal and local Police, Iraqi army and the Kurdistan Regional Government's KRG Peshmerga.

Shingal district is located 120 km west of Mosul and is administratively affiliated to Ninewa province while the district is considered part of the disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil.

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