Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Outrage in Iraq following release of general who 'abandoned Mosul to ISIS

An Iraqi general, who has been widely blamed for the fall of the city of Mosul to the ISIS extremists in 2014, was released from prison on Saturday, to the dismay of many Iraqis.

Iraqis from Mosul reacted with anger to news that General Mahdi Gharawi, who had been tasked with the defence of Iraq's third-largest city in 2014, had left prison and was now back at home after just two years in custody.

The Iraqi army and police had an estimated 60,000 men in Mosul, and greatly outnumbered the attacking ISIS force which was estimated to be only 1,500 strong. However, they abandoned their positions in the city in June 2014, allowing IS to capture it in just six days.

Mosul endured three years under the rule of IS extremists and large parts of it were destroyed in airstrikes by the US-led anti-ISIS coalition .

Bodies of victims of the war are still regularly being found in the city, where scenes of devastation predominate today , three years after IS militants were expelled.

Gharawi was accused of a series of charges by the Iraqi defence ministry, including desertion and dereliction of duty. The charges carried a maximum penalty of death.

Taha Abbassi, the father of seven children who were killed along with their mother in a coalition airstrike on Mosul in 2016 called the announcement of Gharawi's release "disgusting".

"Justice is absent in Iraq," he told The New Arab's Arabic-language service. "When things like this happen it makes the creation of a state which respects human rights and the right to justice impossible."
Although free from prison now, he still faces a number of charges in civilian courts, including high treason, which the Iraqi parliament accused him of in 2015, and human rights violations committed during Gharawi's command of Mosul's security.

Other officers who were accused of abandoning Mosul to IS, such as Federal Police Colonel Kifah Muzher, have also been released from prison.