Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Iraqi Lawmaker, Muqtada Al-Sadr Supporter, Claims Abuse by US Soldier

Reuters is reporting that a soldier grabbed a member of Iraqi parliament by the throat and forced him to the ground after he parked his car in the green zone.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi lawmaker accused a U.S. soldier of grabbing him by the throat and shoving him to the ground Tuesday after he parked his car in Baghdad's Green Zone.

Fattah al-Sheikh, an independent, said he had parked his car before a session of parliament when U.S. troops approached him and told him he didn't have the right permit.

He said a soldier then kicked his car, insulted him and grabbed him by the throat with both hands as others looked on, before tying his hands behind his back with white plastic cuffs and shoving him to the ground.
According to Islamonline.net, and several other internet citations, al-Sheikh is the editor-in-chief of Ishrakat Al-Sadr newspaper, and a former member of the Mahdi army of renegade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Fath Allah Ghazy Fattahlah Ghazi Al-Esmaili, a.k.a. Fattah Al-Sheikh, is editor in chief of ,Ishrakat Al-Sadr newspaper.

Al-Sheikh is running for parliament as the head of list#352, a 180-candidate list representing Shiite-dominated Sadr City.

He is also a former member of the Mahdi Army.
Al-Sheikh is described only as an "independent" in the Reuters accounts.

Update: Washington Times article confirms pseudonym and background of soldier's accuser

BAGHDAD — Just months ago, Fattahlah Ghazi al-Esmaili was penning articles in support of Iraq's Shi'ite uprising as editor for Ishriqat, a newspaper for rebel cleric Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi's Army militia.

"Before, we were men of the Mahdi's Army. Now we are men of politics," says the journalist, who goes by the pen name Fattah al-Sheikh. "Yesterday, we were out on the streets. Today, we are here campaigning, and hopefully tomorrow, we'll be in the presidential palace."
This information should have been included in the Reuters report.

Update II:
Knight-Ridder newspapers finally mentions in passing that Al-Sheikh is "...a member of a small party sympathetic to rebel Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr," but not that he was a member of the Mahdi Army or that "Fattah al-Sheikh" is a pen name. Reuters has not updated their original story.