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Debate in Iraq over Dismissing Judicial Cases against Sunni Officials

Sunday, 02 June 2019 23:02
A general view of Baghdad, Iraq. A general view of Baghdad, Iraq.

The Supreme Judicial Council and Federal Court in Iraq denied that arrangements have been made to dismiss judicial cases against prominent Sunni politicians.

Local media had reported that figures, such as former Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, former Finance Minister Rafeh Issawi, former Nineveh province Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi and Anbar province elder Sheikh Ali al-Hatem al-Suleiman, have had their judicial cases dismissed as part of a political settlement.

Official spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council Abdulsattar al-Bayrkdar denied the report, saying that any individual sought in judicial cases can resort to legal channels to appeal sentences.

Moreover, he stressed that sentences are not politically motivated, but they have been issued according to criminal law and based on submitted evidence.

Hashemi, Issawi and Suleiman have yet to comment on the reports.

Nujaifi meanwhile, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the case against him and Issawi was “administrative, not political.”

“I am seeking to expose the evidence that has been concealed from the judiciary in my case,” he vowed.

He also noted that the verdicts have been issued on “inaccurate” investigations, remarking that the cases have not been completed.

“We are seeking a legal approach, not a political one,” he stressed.

Furthermore, Nujaifi said that the cases against him are covered in an official pardon and do not require a special amnesty ruling.

Sunni lawmaker from al-Anbar Mohammed al-Karbouli said that Iraq was on the verge of a new chapter and all politicians should have their judicial records erased, starting with Sadrist supporters.

“We should start off with a real pardon, not a political one,” he stated.

Nineveh MP Ahmed al-Jabouri defended Hashemi and Issawi, saying that they were isolated from the political scene through “unconvincing” means.

He added that Issawi could return to the political scene after all charges are dropped against him. This can take place after he stands before the judiciary, which will dismiss cases against him.

Meanwhile, the Fateh alliance rejected compromises “over the blood shed by Iraqis.”

MP Abdulamir al-Debbi said the “just” judiciary will have the final say in these issues.

“No political party or bloc can issue a pardon for any individual who is wanted by the judiciary,” he stressed.

Hashemi is wanted on charges of supporting terrorism. He is also charged for crimes committed by his security personnel. He was sentenced in absentia and forced to leave Iraq in 2009.

Issawi was sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison for supporting terrorism.

The two officials have denied the charges, saying they were ready to appear before the Iraqi judiciary on condition that the trial be moved from Baghdad to Erbil.

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat