Political analysts Ibrahim al-Sumaidaie and Yahya al-Kubaisi have been respectively accused of publicly “insulting” and “defaming” public authorities, in keeping with copies of the warrants obtained by NCS and the media workplace of the Supreme Judicial Council.

The warrants have been issued on March 16 and are primarily based on a 1969 penal code which has been beforehand criticized by human rights teams for impinging on freedom of speech.

Al-Sumaidaie was subsequently arrested by Iraqi safety forces at his residence in Baghdad late Friday, in keeping with an announcement launched by Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council on Saturday.

He is well-known for his criticism of the present government. According to the judicial council assertion, the warrant towards al-Sumaidaie was issued by Baghdad’s Al-Karkh Investigation Court beneath Penal Code Article 226 for insulting “official institutions” through the use of “bad phrases” which “go beyond the limits of the freedom of expression.” He might withstand seven years in jail, in keeping with Iraqi legislation.

The Iraq-based media watchdog Journalistic Freedoms Observatory stated Al-Sumaidaie has obtained a lawyer however NCS was unable to achieve him regardless of a number of makes an attempt.

Al-Kubaisi can also be identified for his criticism of the Iraqi government and key political events in energy. The warrant for his arrest cites article 433 of the penal code which offers with the cost of defamation of a person or entity. The media workplace of the Supreme Judicial Council didn’t elaborate on the cost of defamation to NCS. He has not been detained, as he lives exterior of the nation.

“I was expecting the arrest warrant for me,” al-Kubaisi informed NCS, including that he believed it was associated to articles he had printed that have been essential of Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court.

“The arrest warrant is not a personal issue against me, rather than to oppress those who have opinions. This arrest warrant is a clear threat for those who criticize the regime, the government and political parties. It’s a signal to them that an arrest warrant can be issued immediately against them,” he added.

The arrest warrants sparked controversy amongst activists and a few politicians.

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The impartial Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights expressed “grave concern” and “deep regret,” and described the warrants as missing “regard for the humanitarian and legal guarantees in a procedure that is a flagrant violation of human rights,” Ali al-Bayati, a spokesperson and member of the Commission, informed NCS on Sunday, whereas additionally calling for al-Sumaidaie’s fast launch.

“Iraq is still considered a dangerous place for those who express their opinions,” al-Bayati additionally stated.

Lawmaker Mohammed al-Sudani additionally expressed his regrets, saying that penalizing the expression of essential opinion is a “very dangerous matter.” “This is taking place at a time when murderers, criminals, and corrupt Individuals enjoy their full freedoms,” al-Sudani tweeted Saturday.

Last yr, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) known as for the Iraqi government to reform its penal code in a report that said: “Iraq’s Penal Code, which dates back to 1969, includes numerous defamation ‘crimes’ such as ‘insult[ing] the Arab community’ or any government official, regardless of whether the statement is true.”

“Although few people serve prison time for defamation, the criminal process itself acts as a punishment. Reporting on abuses by the security forces or about corruption is especially risky,” the group wrote within the June 2020 report.

Al-Sumaidaie’s last tweet previous to his arrest had marked the anniversary of the beginning of the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

“The United States and its allies launched the war on Iraq to disarm weapons of mass destruction and bring down the dictatorial regime that threatened world peace, and to build democracy,” he wrote Friday, the identical day he was arrested.

“The result is no weapons of mass destruction nor democracy, nor has Iraq become more secure and peaceful for the world and its citizens. Who is responsible?” he added.

NCS’s Aqeel Najim in Baghdad contributed to this report.


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