ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) responded on Sunday to an Amnesty International report calling for the release of one of the founders of the Ansar al-Islam extremist organization.
Dindar Zebari, Head of the KRG’s High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports, said in a statement, “Waleed Yunus is a dangerous person and had made instructions in prison to launch an attack on Bashiq [near Mosul].”
According to the statement, Yunus is one of the key founders of the Ansar al-Islam organization. He also spent some time in Afghanistan and met with Osama Bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda.
During his meeting with Bin Laden, Yunus received instructions on the establishment of Ansar al-Islam, an extremist organization responsible for killing thousands of civilians.
Amnesty International released a report last week stating that Yunus was arrested in February 2000. The report added that he had been detained without trial for 10 years and called upon the KRG to release him.
According to Amnesty, “[Yunus] was convicted of sending orders and instructions from prison to his followers in Kirkuk and Mosul to carry out terrorist attacks in Dohuk in 2009 by the criminal court in Dohuk on March 17.”
“The trial court ignored those 10 years and decided that his five-year sentence should be considered to start from the date when his detention became lawful, leaving him almost four more years to serve,” the report added.
Zebari said that Dohuk Criminal Court charged Yunus with five years’ imprisonment.
However, he reportedly sent instructions to his followers in prison, stating that “he had a key role in a car bomb attack in the town of Bashiq near Mosul in 2013 resulting in civilian casualties.”
Yunus was charged based on Article two, part four of the anti-terror law of the Kurdistan Region, Zebari explained.
“Waleed Yunus is one of the terrorists who poses a big threat to the security and stability of the Kurdistan Region, and security forces should take all necessary measures before his release,” the KRG representative said.
Yunus is now held at Zirka prison in the city of Dohuk. In June 2010, Amnesty delegates visited him in an Erbil jail.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany