A police officer involved in the murder of a prominent academic and security expert has been sentenced to death.
An Iraqi court has sentenced to death Ahmed Hamdawi Oueid al-Kenani, a police officer accused of leading a group that shot dead prominent analyst and government adviser Hisham al-Hashimi in Baghdad’s Ziyouna district three years ago.
A Baghdad court sentenced al-Kenani to death on Sunday under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law, a judicial authority statement said.
Al-Hashimi, a prominent academic and government adviser who is an expert on Sunni armed groups operating in Iraq, including the Islamic State (ISIS), and has close ties to top Iraqi policy makers, announced in 2020 Four men on two motorcycles were shot dead outside his home in July 2009.
Hashemi has also been outspoken against powerful Shiite militants allied with Iran, angering Tehran-backed Shiites in Iraq’s Hasid al-Shabi paramilitary network.
Hashid has the second-largest bloc in Iraq’s parliament and controls huge financial assets.
Al-Hashimi’s death and al-Kenani’s arrest
On July 6, 2020, a camera near Hashemi’s home reported security footage showing a masked gunman walking up to his white SUV and firing several shots through the driver’s window.
As the killer fled, three of Hashemi’s young boys were seen helping neighbors pull his bullet-riddled body out of a car.
Just a year later, Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi announced the arrest of a suspect in the murder of his adviser.
Iraqi state television then aired a video showing Kinani wearing a brown jumpsuit, saying he led the group that killed Hashemi.
State television aired surveillance footage of the attack, appearing to confirm this.
After his arrest, al-Kadhimi tweeted, “We promised to arrest the killer of Husham Alhashimi. We kept that promise.”
The Al Rassafa Criminal Court sentenced to death under Section 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Law (No. 13 of 2005) Ministry of Interior official “Ahmed Hamdawi Ouaid” who killed security expert Hisham Al-Hashimi after delaying 10 sentences. pic.twitter.com/7cYAAH3fQ3
— Dr. Ali Al Bayati | Ï. علي البياتي (@aliakramalbayat) May 7, 2023
The media was not allowed into the courtroom on Sunday, but a lawyer in attendance said al-Kenani had no response to the judge’s ruling.
A spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad said he could appeal the verdict.
In 2020, government officials described Hashemi’s death as a targeted killing, but did not specifically blame any group.
Paramilitary officials allied with Iran have denied any role in the killing, and no group has claimed responsibility for it.