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US blacklists Falih Al-Fayyadh over ‘human rights abuse’

The United States on Friday slapped sanctions on the head of Iraq’s Hashd Al-Shaabi (IMIS) over alleged rights abuse.

In a statement, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it has designated Falih Al-Fayyadh, the chairman of the IMIS Hashd Al-Shaabi, who once served as the country’s national security adviser, for his connection to serious human rights abuse.

“During protests beginning in October 2019, Iran-aligned elements of the PMC attacked Iraqi civilians demonstrating against corruption, unemployment, economic stagnation, poor public services, and Iranian interference in Iraq’s domestic affairs,” the statement read.

“Al-Fayyadh was part of a crisis cell comprised primarily of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militia leaders formed in late 2019 to suppress the Iraqi protests with the support of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Today, Iran-aligned elements of the PMF continue to wage an assassination campaign against political activists in Iraq who are calling for free and fair elections, respect for human rights, and clean government.”

Commenting on the sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said: “By directing and supervising the murder of peaceful Iraqi demonstrators, Iran-aligned militants and politicians such as Falih Al-Fayyadh have been waging a violent campaign against Iraqi democracy and civil society.”

“The United States will continue to hold accountable human rights abusers in Iraq who aim to deny the Iraqi people in their efforts to peacefully protest, seek justice, and root out corruption in their country.”