Tributes paid to Kurdish soldier killed by Albanian drug dealers

Hamawand Ali Hussain, who had fought with Peshmerga forces in Iraq, was gunned down in Hartlepool in 2019.

Tributes paid to Kurdish soldier killed by Albanian drug dealers

Tributes have been paid to a Kurdish sniper who fought against the so-called Islamic State and who was blasted to death in a gangland slaying.

Two Albanians and a fellow Kurd have been jailed for their part in the execution of father-of-two Hamawand Ali Hussain, in a terraced house in Hartlepool, in September 2019.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Mr Hussain, who came to the UK in 2005 and was a British citizen, was a cannabis dealer who was lured to the house and shot at point-blank range.

Hamawand Ali Hussain death
Noza Saffari, a Kurd jailed for his part in the execution of father-of-two Hamawand Ali Hussain (Cleveland Police/PA)

The prosecution said there was no clear motive for the murder, but police believed the victim had made enemies of a group of Albanian drug dealers who decided “to take him out”.

Following the trial which started in January, Kurd Noza Saffari, 39, of Park Lane, Middlesbrough; and Albanians Dorian Pirija, 33, of Trillo Avenue, Bolton; and Qazim Marku, 24, of Maxwell Road, West Drayton, London; were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

They were sentenced on Thursday, with Saffari being jailed for 15 years, and Pirija and Marku for 19 years each.

Hamawand Ali Hussain death
Qazim Marku, one of two Albanians jailed for their part in the execution of father-of-two Hamawand Ali Hussain (Cleveland Police/PA)

After the case, Mr Hussain’s family released a tribute and a series of photos of him fighting against IS.

They said: “He was a brilliant father and his children saw him as their hero, a brave man who protected them.

“They knew about his involvement fighting against ISIS and felt so proud of this, as did the family and the rest of the Kurdish community.”

Cleveland Police were still seeking to trace four men in connection with the killing, including the man believed to have pulled the trigger.

Hamawand Ali Hussain death
Dorian Pirija, one of two Albanians jailed for their part in the execution of father-of-two Hamawand Ali Hussain (Cleveland Police/PA)

According to reports, he returned to Kurdistan in 2014 with his British wife to fight ISIS and was injured during the offensives of Shingal and Zummar, but carried on until the end of the war.

After his death, the Kurdistan-based Rudaw news organisation quoted Brigadier General Musa Gardi as saying: “He was a genius and an active Peshmerga.

“Believe me, there were only a few like Hamawand.”

Most Read

Top Stories

More From The Jersey Evening Post

UK & International News