July 16, 2004 – Appointed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is alleged to have executed six suspected insurgents in a Baghdad detention facility only days before the so-called "handover" of partial sovereignty in late June. Unnamed "witnesses" told the Sydney Morning Herald that the detainees were handcuffed and blindfolded when Allawi himself shot them at close range. One witness told the Herald: "The prisoners were against the wall and we were standing in the courtyard when the Interior Minister said that he would like to kill them all on the spot. Allawi said that they deserved worse than death -- but then he pulled the pistol from his belt and started shooting them."
Allawi reportedly executed the prisoners while about a dozen Iraqi police officers and four American agents from the Prime Minister's personal security force looked on. The witnesses suggested Allawi executed the men -- who Allawi said were responsible for up to 50 deaths apiece -- to send a message to his policemen and soldiers that they should not fear killing insurgents. According to the Heraldâ€™s sources, Iraq's Interior Minister, Falah Al-Naqib, was also present in the courtyard and congratulated Allawi on the executions.
The offices of both PM Allawi and Minister Al-Naqib have issued statements denying the allegations.
Several stories of Allawi's brutality during his 33 years in exile have surfaced since he was appointed Prime Minister, including his role as a hitman for the Baâ€™ath party secret service in Europe in the 1970s, and as a CIA asset responsible for carrying out car bombings on civilian targets in Iraq in the mid-1990s. In a recent New Yorker article, former CIA officer Reuel Marc Gerecht, who served in the Middle East, said that Allawi's "strongest virtue is that heâ€™s a thug."