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US-appointed Najaf governor Arrested for Kidnapping, Corruption

American troops detained the U.S.-appointed governor of this Shiite-dominated southern city on Monday, accusing him of kidnapping and corruption, and arrested 62 of his top aides, the military said.

The top US overseer in Iraq, Paul Bremer, "was particularly distressed that this official was misusing his public office to commit crimes of this sort," he said.
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 http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=3&u=/ap/20030630/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_mayor_detained

U.S. Detains Mayor of Iraqi City
2 hours, 51 minutes ago

By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer

NAJAF, Iraq - American troops detained the U.S.-appointed mayor of this Shiite-dominated southern city on Monday, accusing him of kidnapping and corruption, and arrested 62 of his top aides, the military said.

Abu Haydar Abdul Mun'im was installed by the Americans shortly after they entered this city in April. But the former army colonel was unpopular among the local population because of his background in ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's military.

He was replaced by Haydar Mahdi Mattar al-Mayali, a former deputy in the mayor's office.

Coalition forces made the arrest at the request of an Iraqi investigative judge in Najaf, said a statement by the U.S.-led provisional authority.

"They have been investigating these allegations for some time before concluding that there is sufficient evidence to warrant arrest," the statement said. "These allegations are very serious."

On Monday, U.S. forces blocked the entrance to Mun'im's offices and would not let reporters enter. "There is a mission in progress," one Marine said.

In addition to kidnapping, Mun'im stands accused of holding hostages, pressuring government employees to commit financial crimes, and attacking a bank official.

In recent weeks, residents of Najaf, 110 miles southwest of Baghdad, have held demonstrations against Mun'im, accusing him of links to Saddam's dissolved Baath Party.

Saddam was highly unpopular in the Shiite-dominated south, which until recently had been largely free of the ambushes that have been plaguing U.S. troops in the so-called Sunni triangle north and west of Baghdad, where Saddam enjoyed a degree of support.

U.S. and British troops, which have a large presence in the south, have been seeking to win favor among the local population.


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 http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030630/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_us_governor&cid=1514&ncid=1480

US-appointed Najaf governor arrested over kidnapping, corruption: coalition
1 hour, 22 minutes ago


BAGHDAD(AFP) - The US-appointed interim governor of the southern city of Najaf was removed from office and detained by coalition forces on charges of kidnapping and corruption, a senior coalition official said.

"The interim governor of Najaf, Abu Haidar Abdul Munim, was removed from office and arrested this afternoon in Najaf," said the official.

Abdul Munim remained in custody in Najaf and would be "tried in an Iraqi court under Iraqi law".

The current deputy governor, Haidar Mahdi Mattar al-Mayali, will take over the interim governor's duties in the southern Shiite Muslim holy city.

Sixty-one people, including Abdul Munim's personal bodyguards, were also detained and "will be investigated" over the same charges.

Abdul Munim faces "charges which include: kidnapping and holding hostages; pressuring government employees to perform financial crimes; attacking a bank official and stealing funds," said the coalition official.

"These charges on which he has been arrested are charges that have been investigated over the last couple of weeks by the local Iraqi investigative judge and the special prosecutor," he said.

"We asked the local judiciary to conduct a preliminary investigation and they brought a large amount of evidence from a number of people against the interim governor," he said.

The top US overseer in Iraq, Paul Bremer, "was particularly distressed that this official was misusing his public office to commit crimes of this sort," he said.

"My understanding is that he (Abdul Munim) was appointed by the local (coalition military) commander," he said.

"We will make mistakes ... We clearly made a mistake with this chap," said the official, who however hailed the arrest as "a clear sign that the rule of law is returning to Iraq," with public officials being held accountable.

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