Sadrists Demand Release of al-Zamili; More Schisms among Sadrists

A three-judge panel in Iraq acquitted Hakim al-Zamili, a former deputy health minister, and Brigadier General Hamid al-Shammari, the chief of the health ministry’s security forces, of the charges of murder, kidnapping, and embezzlement. The judges ruled that no compelling evidence had been presented of the charges against al-Zamili. Critics of the process complained that witnesses had been intimidated into not testifying. The trial was seen by many observers as a test of whether the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki could act in a non-sectarian, fair manner. In fact, it appears that favoritism toward Shiites is a policy.

Sadrists demanded that the US release Zamili, given his acquittal in court. WaPo says, ‘ Sadrist lawmaker Falah Shanshal demanded that Zamili and Shimari be released and paid compensation. “The U.S. forces should respect the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council and apply it as soon as possible,” Shanshal told a news conference. ‘

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Muqtada al-Sadr has washed his hands of Ahmad al-Sharifi and Adnan Shahmani. He accused these Sadrist commanders of corruption. Al-Hayat says that the Sadr Movement has witnessed a number of schisms in the 3 weeks since Muqtada al-Sadr renewed the freeze on the activities of Mahdi Army militants. These commanders who peeled off accused Muqtada of being subservient to the Americans. Asma’ al-Musawi, a member of the Sadrist politburo, said that Shahmani had formed his own breakaway party. She said that was his right, as long as he dissociated himself from the Sadr movement itself. Al-Sharifi has also formed his own small party, hiving off from the mainstream Sadrists.

McClatchy reports political violence on Tuesday in Iraq:

‘ Baghdad

– Around 3 p.m. a roadside bomb targeted civilians in Al Wathiq square causing no casualties. Another bomb targeted police patrols when they responded to the bombing. Two policemen were injured and one civilian was injured.

– Police found two unidentified bodies in Baghdad, one in Saidiyah and one in Sadr City.

Diyala

– Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms kidnapped a civilian in Buhruz. His dead body was found today.

– Gunmen killed a civilian as he was leaving his house in Baquba.

– A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army vehicle in Imam Wais area, killing one soldier and injuring two.

Salahuddin

– Gunmen killed two civilians in Al Hassan village; the deceased were relatives of a leader of an awakening council.

Basra

– Gunmen killed a police officer from Nassiriyah police and three of his body guards in central Basra. ‘

Reuters adds further reports political violence on Tuesday:

‘MOSUL – At least five people were wounded, including three policemen, when a roadside bomb detonated near their patrol in eastern Mosul, said Brigadier- General Khalid Abdul-Sattar, Iraqi security spokesman in Nineveh province.

MOSUL – Gunmen shot dead a policeman near his house in western Mosul, police said.”

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