An Iraqi lawmaker has accused Iraqi Security Forces personnel of making corrupt deals with ISIS order to release detained terrorists during the ongoing campaign to defeat the group in Iraq, according to Middle East Monitor.
Aliya Nassif said on Monday that corrupt military and police officers have been letting ISIS terrorists go free in exchange for cash, as US and Iran-backed militias attempt to retake the city of Mosul, the group’s last major urban stronghold in Iraq.
“Some weak souls in the security forces are selling (freedom to) detained ISIS members in exchange for money,” Nassif said in a statement, according to local media outlets.
“This is a result of there being no accurate data about the number, nationalities and crimes committed by ISIS terrorists arrested in Mosul. The numbers released by the Police Affairs Agency are fake because the number of detainees in Qayyarah alone is only 1,315,” she said.
The lawmaker added that the ISIS terrorists who buy their freedom then return to the battlefield to continue “murdering and destroying”.
Walid Al-Qaisi, a member of the Mosul Bar Association, told The New Arab that an investigation must be conducted into Nassif’s accusations.
“I have heard about some cases of ISIS terrorists being released for money, but I didn’t realize that it had reached the proportions that a member of parliament has spoken out about it,” Al-Qaisi said .
“The outbreak of this phenomenon will lead to terrorism returning to Mosul in different clothes because it gives ISIS terrorists the chance to reorganize themselves,” he added.
Iraqi forces have been engaged in a grinding battle for west Mosul since last month, prompting more than 200,000 civilians to flee the northern city, Iraq’s second largest. The Iraqi and US-led coalition’s operations have also led to hundreds of Iraqi civilians being killed, mostly women and children.
Groups within the Iraqi military and the Iran-backed Shia militias IMIS have been detaining men fleeing Mosul in unidentified detention centers where they are cut off from contact with the outside world, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned.
According to the Iraqi military and the IMIS, the men are suspected ISIS terrorists. However, HRW warns that they are not being screened correctly and that the rights of innocents caught up in these indiscriminate sweeps are being violated.
“In case after case, relatives are telling us that their male family members are being stopped by IMIS militants and disappearing,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW .