Iraqi crisis deepens with immunity lift

Iraqi crisis deepens with immunity lift

Iraqi crisis deepens with immunity lift

Shiite PM Nouri al-Maliki’s government charges Sunni MP al-Mulla for insulting the judiciary. Hürriyet photo

Iraq’s Shiite-led government wants to bring charges against a member of the Sunni-backed bloc, a lawmaker said yesterday, the latest step in a political crisis that erupted just after the United States completed its military withdrawal from the violence-wracked nation.

Iraqiya parliamentarian Haidar al-Mulla said he was informed prosecutors were seeking to charge him for insulting the country’s judiciary by lifting his parliamentary immunity from the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraqiya accuses al-Maliki of sectarian bias and of trying to push the Sunni-backed bloc out of the government to consolidate his own grip on power. The government set off the crisis by issuing an arrest warrant against the country’s top Sunni official, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, charging him with running death squads. He denied the charges and has been holed up in the semi-autonomous northern Iraq for the duration of the crisis.

“We will not be silenced. I have the right to express my opinion and criticize inappropriate acts,” al-Mulla told the Associated Press. “We will continue our work and expose any mismanagement of affairs in this country.”

Iraqiya lawmakers ended a protest of Parliament on Jan. 29. Meanwhile, a Turkmen parliamentary member from the bloc told Anatolia news agency they were set to end their boycott of government.
Arshad Salehi, head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, has said the Iraqiya’s eight ministers would resume attending Cabinet meetings to ease the crisis.