02:24 GMT18 April 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Najah al-Shammari, the embattled Iraqi Defence Minister, is already under investigation for grant fraud in Sweden, where he's lived since 2009 ultimately acquiring citizenship in 2015.

    Iraqi Defence Minister Najah al-Shammari is now being investigated for crimes against humanity by Swedish prosecutors, after he was earlier confirmed to be a Swedish citizen, the Prosecutor's Office reported.

    The preliminary investigation is being led by Chamber Prosecutor Neela Frisell at the National Unit against International and Organised Crime and is “at a very early stage”, according to the statement.

    The newspaper Aftonbladet subsequently reported that 52-year-old Najah al-Shammari is under investigation for war crimes under the Genocide and War Crimes Act.

    Exile Iraqis assumed that al-Shammari, who was named Iraqi Defence Minister in June, bears responsibility for the crackdown against the protests that have unfolded in Iraq since October. According to Aftonbladet, the protests left at least 330 killed and 15,000 injured. In response, al-Shammari accused a “third party” of the bloodshed.

    Nevertheless, one person said of al-Shammari that he was “holding important office in a corrupt government that is carrying out a massacre against people who are exercising their rights under Iraqi law”.

    In addition, al-Shammari, who obtained Swedish citizenship in 2015 under a different surname, is under investigation for gross grant fraud, as he and his wife reportedly received a housing allowance and child allowance in Sweden, despite being in Iraq.

    ​Al-Shammari came to Sweden in 2009 with a military record under Saddam Hussein. According to the news outlet Nyheter Idag, who came up with this scoop, al-Shammari claimed that he was unable to work due to memory problems and received disability benefits.

    Najah al-Shammari
    © CC0
    Najah al-Shammari

    Al-Shammari also has a criminal record in Sweden and was once remanded into custody for what were described as “serious crimes” only to be released after preliminary investigations were closed.

    Lastly, the news outlet Nyheter Idag also claimed, citing screenshots of messages of a sexual nature as proof, that al-Shammari harassed young men and engaged in domestic violence, which was claimed to have sparked a marriage crisis.

    In response, al-Shammari threatened to sue Swedish and Arabic media for publishing “false information” and claimed to have hired a Swedish layer.

    Speculations about al-Shammari being a Swedish citizen first started circulating in Iraqi media in spring, which his party, al-Wataniya or the National Coalition, denied, describing him as a competent patriot. It is legal for Iraqis to have double citizenship unless they run for high-ranking government office.

    ​Vårby, the Stockholm district where al-Shammari is registered as living, is labelled by the Swedish police as a “vulnerable” area marked by high levels of crime, unemployment and urban blight.


    'Grey Zone': Cooperation Between Jihadists, Criminals Behind Spate of Blasts, Swedish Analyst Claims
    Sweden Is 'Full', Time for Repatriation – Leader of Country's Largest Right-Wing Party
    Sweden, Scandinavia, Iraq
    Community standardsDiscussion