US accused of violating its amnesty in Iraq

US-allied anti-Qaeda militia leader says his arrest violates amnesty deal with Americans.

BALAD, Iraq – A senior anti-Qaeda militia leader allied with American forces said on Monday that his arrest was a violation of an amnesty deal signed with the United States last year.

Iraqi police and the US military detained Mullah Nadim al-Juburi and his two brothers on Saturday at their home near Balad in central Iraq on charges of “terrorism”.

Speaking from an interior ministry prison in Balad, Juburi, a former Qaeda leader, said he had severed his relationship with the group in May last year after signing an immunity deal with the US military.

“We signed a ceasefire agreement with American forces, just as we signed an agreement to grant us immunity from the courts, even if we killed half the American army or shot down a plane,” he said in an interview.

“The case has been raised because I was in armed groups before… The complaints have been raised against us because we were in armed groups falsely accused of killing and kidnapping.”

After Juburi formed a Sahwa or Awakening militia to help US forces fight insurgents, he became a target of Al-Qaeda, surviving several assasination attempts, according to Iraqi police.

The Sahwa movement began in late 2006 when local tribes and former insurgents or Al-Qaeda members started turning on Al-Qaeda in Iraq and allying with the US military, and today it includes more than 90,000 fighters across the country.

In recent months dozens of Sahwa members have been arrested amid warnings from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that they have no immunity from the law.

American and Iraqi forces arrested Juburi and two of his brothers on Saturday night at their home in Dhuluiyah.

“We received an order to arrest Mullah Nadim al-Juburi and his two brothers from the court of appeal for Salaheddin province in Tikrit,” Balad police colonel Jabbar Abed Oun said.

“He has been accused of the crimes of kidnapping and murder and is wanted by the anti-terrorism police in Tikrit,” he said.