A prominent militia leader has denied any involvement in kidnappings and joked that civil activists should “stop cursing him”.
Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Asaeb Ahl al-Haq militia, made the comments in a Facebook video weeks after he was accused of being behind the abduction of seven anti-corruption activists.
In the short clip, al-Khazali told “civil activists, civil organizations and everyone: All of the words that are reaching you, they are attempts to gain political advantage.”
“These acts, these kidnappings and intimidation of Iraqis that are taking place, they are unacceptable cases that we condemn, regardless of who is responsible,” he continued.
“If we found that these people belong to the Asaeb Ahl al-Haq or to another armed group then we will express our opposition and we will not allow them immunity.”
“And civil activists, do what you want, but don’t keep cursing me,” al Khazali concluded.
Opinion was mixed among the commenters, with some expressing agreement.
You are truly a respectable person... however these attempts to gain political advantage and these falsifications of facts come from the other political parties and from members of Daesh.
Others were more critical.
You're an immoral criminal, what do you know about civil organizations and civil activists, your work is torture and killing.
Iraq’s Shia militias hold much popular support as a result of their involvement in fighting Daesh. However, many are anxious about the existence and influence of non-state armed groups in the country.
The seven young men kidnapped earlier this month were returned shortly afterward and an enquiry opened to identify the perpetrators. However, as yet no-one has been detained in connection with the incident.
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