Karbala have announced that club coach Mohammed Abbas Al-Jabouri has passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. The coach had been in a coma for the past week after being attacked by Iraqi SWAT team on the afternoon of Sunday, June 23, and was pronounced clinically dead by the club, a day after the brutal and unprovoked attack.
The Karbala club chairman Mohammed Nassir confirmed that the doctors had pronounced the coach as clinically dead after suffering internal bleeding and 13 fractures to his skull after the attack. The club also confirmed on Tuesday, that seven members of the SWAT Team who had attacked the club’s players and the coach had been arrested.
Club official Ahmed Haddam mentioned that Mohammed Daami, a member of the Ministry of Youth and Sports had visited the coach at the Al-Hussein General Hospital in Karbala and pledged to form an investigative committee to look into the case. The club management filed a lawsuit against the security forces noting that the case file reached the Judicial Department and would be decided upon during the next few days.
The altercation between the Iraqi Special Forces and the 48 year-old coach at the end of Karbala’s league game with Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, a game the home side lost 4-2, and occured at the entrance of the Karbala stadium after he came to the defence of one of his players, Maitham Hamza.
The Iraqi forces asked the player to leave the area and then a quarrel erupted between them, with the members of the SWAT team beating the player, injuring his shoulder. The Karbala captain Mushtaq Salal rushed to his team-mates aide, but was also beaten.
A crowd began to gather made up of Karbala club officials and various others, to try and solve the problem. The coach of the side, Mohammed Abbas, who had seen the incident, came to the defence of his players and said that the players and team management had been humiliated and beaten by the security forces.
He calmly began to speak to the SWAT team and asked them for the reason for beating his players but was attacked and beaten on his head, witnesses mentioned that he was beaten as if he was ‘a terrorist.’
He eventually lost consciousness and lay motionless on the ground after the beating, and despite calls from people to the forces to phone for an ambulance or take him to hospital, there was no response from the SWAT team.
They continued their assault on Karbala club secretary Ahmed Hadam and players Haidar Jabar, Jassim Mohammed and Mohammed Khalid outside the walls of the club stadium.
Mohammed Abbas Al-Jabouri, or Abu Sumaya, as he was known, had returned to his home city of Karbala two seasons ago, working as an assistant to former club coach Haidar Yahya. He had played for Karbala in the 1980s and the early 90s, before leaving Iraq in 1993 and settling with his family in the Netherlands. On May 26, this year, he was appointed head coach of the Karbala club. He had previously coached several youth and junior teams at DVV in the city of Duiven, where his son is a youth player.
There could be major repercussions after the death of the coach, with the Iraq FA having appealed to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to investigate the incident, while several Iraqi clubs have suspended their activities and many have withdrawn from this weeks league matches in the Iraqi league.
The head of the club, Mohammed Nassir, in an interview to Mada Press, said “What the coach Mohammed Abbas suffered at the hands of security forces (SWAT), is a clear crime and committed in public, adding that he was assaulted, although he was a symbol of the Iraqi sport and had a long history of achievements and raise the name of Iraq in many international forums, and that he was a human being and an Iraqi.
Nassir added, “We found overwhelming evidence that the security forces in Iraq, do not know the definition of the law and how to apply it as they do not know how to deal with citizens”, accusing the leaders of the forces as “do not possess the skills and estimate how to handle and contain.”
The president of the club, stated “The members of the SWAT forces displayed disregard and lack of respect for basic human rights that has brought us to where we are now,” he said, adding that “Karbala Sports Club had suspended its activities and its involvement in the Iraqi league.”