Arrest warrant for 'espionage' reissued against ex-governor of Mosul

Arrest warrant for 'espionage' reissued against ex-governor of Mosul
Atheel al-Nujaifi, who was the governor at the time of Islamic State's capture of Mosul, allegedly worked with Ankara to allow Turkish troops to deploy in Iraq.
2 min read
29 January, 2017
Atheel al-Nujaifi has been living in Erbil since Islamic State captured Mosul [Anadolu]

An arrest warrant against the former governor of Mosul has been reissued by the Iraqi government.

Atheel al-Nujaifi, commander of the Nineveh Guard militia, was first charged in October 2015 with allegedly spying for the Turkish military.

"[An] arrest warrant has been issued against former Mosul Governor Atheel Nujaifi in case if he is present in the left side of Mosul," said Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command.

In response to the government's statement, Nujaifi said they were "useless and false accusations" and the Nineveh Guard would continue its responsibility for maintaining security in the region surrounding Mosul.

The warrant relates to a complaint by three parliamentarians in December 2015 alleging that Nujaifi was involved in Turkey's deployment of troops in the Iraqi town of Bashiqa.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called Turkey's action at the time an illegal "incursion" and a "serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty".

"The plaintiffs stated in their testimony that the defendant facilitated the entry of Turkish troops and helped them establish a base in Zilkan," judicial spokesman Abdelsattar Bayraqdar said in the statement.

Nujaifi was the governor of Nineveh province and its capital, Mosul, when Islamic State fighters captured the city in June 2014.

Shortly after this defeat, Nujaifi was stripped of his role by the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

Nujaifi has more recently been living in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.