Iraqi Kurdish opposition MP in critical condition after being 'poisoned', claims his mother

Iraqi Kurdish opposition MP in critical condition after being 'poisoned', claims his mother
A Kurdish opposition lawmaker in the Iraqi Kurdistan region is in critical health conditions as his mother claims he has been poisoned. 
4 min read
31 October, 2022
Akhtar Ahmed, mother of Kurdish lawmaker Kazim Faruq, speaking to the reporters in front of her house in Sulaimaniyah. [Dana Taib Menmy/TNA]

Kazim Faruq, an opposition lawmaker in the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament, has been allegedly "poisoned" and is currently in intensive care following receiving treatment abroad, his mother claimed in a press conference on Sunday.

Faruq, 36, was the head of the parliamentary bloc of the New Generation Movement (NGM), an opposition party headed by Shaswar Abdulwahid, a former real estate businessman who later became a politician.  

"After we were desperate that local hospitals and doctors to treat him [Faruq] in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, we took him abroad where foreign doctors told us your son has been poisoned and proved that with a medical report," Akhtar Ahmad, Faruq's mother, claimed during the press conference attended by The New Arab, in front of her house in Sulaymaniyah city late Sunday. 

Faruq, a former physician, felt symptoms of illness in January, Ahmad said, further saying that her son's health deteriorated in February. She stressed that they cannot reveal where the MP is receiving treatment because, "after the foreign doctors told us he has been poisoned, we can no longer tell who is an enemy and who is a friend."

kazim faruq
Kazim Faruq, 36, the former head of the parliamentary bloc of the New Generation Movement (NGM) opposition party in the Kurdistan parliament, [photo from the Kurdish parliament's website]

Ahmed's comments came in response to remarks made by Shaswar Abdulwahid,  NGM's president, at a press conference a day earlier, in which he said Faruq is no longer representing the party in the parliament and has no ties with the party.

"Our dear friend Dr Kazim [Faruq] on March 1, 2022, travelled from Baghdad Airport to Britain… He is residing there with his wife and two children," Abdulwahid said on Saturday.

The NGM president also claimed that the reports about Faruq’s deteriorating health issues were "baseless lies" by the media and several Kurdish lawmakers. He accused the media of lacking proper investigation into the story and suggested certain MPs were "affiliated with the security agencies of the Kurdish authorities". Abdulwahid also said his political party have asked Faruq's family to tell them where he is to visit him and check his health conditions.

On 31 March 2021, Faruq threw a pair of shoes at the presidency of Kurdistan's parliament and was later barred unanimously from attending the sessions. Before the incident, Abdulwahid said in an interview broadcasted by NRT, a media channel owned by him, that he advised lawmakers from his party's bloc to throw their shoes at the parliament's presidency. Faruq later said at a press conference that throwing his shoes fulfilled a demand which was made by Abdulwahid.  

Faruq's mother did not directly accuse anyone of being behind her son's alleged poisoning, however, her comments of not knowing "who is an enemy and who is a friend" cast a shadow of suspicion towards Faruq's former friends and opponents in the ruling Kurdish parties. 

kazim faruq
A medical report issued by Sulaymaniyah Forensics, in which indicates Faruq's organs are not functioning well. [photo retried from Ali Hama Salih's Facebook.

"If anyone tells the truth about Kazim's health, they [the NGM] directly attack or humiliate him or her, this is not acceptable. They should tell the truth because they are Kazim's friends. Why do you attack them and thus you suspect yourself?" Faruq's mother asked during the press conference.

For his part, Soran Omar, an Iraqi lawmaker from the Kurdistan Justice Group (KJG), on Sunday in a press conference said that he will file a legal case against Abdulwahid's accusations. The Iraqi MP also disclosed documents allegedly proving that Abdulwahid was involved in corruption, and tax evasion and is affiliated with the Kurdish ruling parties.

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Meanwhile, Ali Hama Salih, an independent Kurdish MP in the Kurdistan parliament, said in a Facebook post that he was hurt by Abdulwahid's comments; in response, he disclosed an alleged medical report issued by Sulaymaniyah's forensic department which indicated that Faruq's organs were not functioning well. 

Himdad Shahin, formal spokesperson of NGM, last week in a statement said that the party has told Faruq that he must not receive his salaries as a lawmaker and return any money he received for the last year and seven months while he was "inactive" and did not attend the parliament sessions, justifying this measure to salvage the party's reputation.

Hama Salih, in another clarification, said that the Kurdistan parliament told him that neither Faruq nor anybody from Faruq's family withdrew payments from his special bank account from the assembly. 

On 27 February, Faruq announced that he was resigning, but the parliament has yet to approve the resignation.