Iraqi command: reporter who accused troops of Mosul tortures merely eyed asylum

Iraqi rapid response forces cary their weapons during battle with Islamic State militants in the Mithaq district of eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 4, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Baghdad ( A photojournalist who filmed a movie purportedly showing Iraqi soldiers torturing and executing civilians in Mosul fabricated his reports to help him win an asylum, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Monday.

The JOC said Ali Arkady had used to “fabricate” stories to use them in his bid to win an asylum, saying that the reporter himself had been involved into torture of civilians.

“Officers and casual personnel quoted in his report had been officially referred to interrogation in order to take due legal measures against them,” the command said in a statement.

Arkady, an Iraqi journalist who spent months embedded within Iraqi special forces, is also wanted for interrogation “having worked and having been involved for more than a year without disclosing or reporting violations.” according to the statement. “If there had been crimes, he was therefore complicit,” it said.

The command noted, however, that an investigation the Interior Ministry had launched regarding Arkady’s allegations would continue, but urged Western media agencies and think-tanks to “be careful with that fugitive fabricator” as the statement put it.

According to Arkady’s footage, which was posted in an article on German magazine Der Spiegel late March under the title “Not Heroes, but Monsters,” officers of the Rapid Response forces, a special forces unit, tortured and executed civilians in Mosul in at least six distinct incident over suspicion of affiliation with Islamic State militants.

Iraqi authorities have routinely shrugged off accusations by international rights groups against government and paramilitary forces of torturing and killing civilians suspected of IS links.

The government, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, has been leading a campaign to drive out IS out of Mosul, but had been surrounded with accusations of causing civilian deaths during operations.

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