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 No justice in Iraq

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Alaa Ibrahim

الدولة : كندا
الجنس : ذكر
عدد المساهمات : 2192
تاريخ التسجيل : 01/03/2010
الابراج : الجوزاء
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مُساهمةموضوع: No justice in Iraq    الجمعة 03 ديسمبر 2010, 22:25

No justice in Iraq

THE prisoners below were paraded in Iraq yesterday and all face execution – even though they’ve not been tried.The 39 handcuffed men, in orange boiler suits, are suspected of being al-Qaeda terrorists.

But they have been found guilty before facing a trial. Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani told a news conference in Baghdad: “Our demand is not to delay the carrying out of the executions against these criminals in order to deter terrorist and criminal elements.”

It makes a mockery of the millions of pounds America has spent on trying to introduce a western-style legal system into the country.The men were said to be Sunni Muslims from west Iraq – although one with blond hair appeared to be a Westerner.

by Chris Hughes,
Daily Mirror

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Britain Failing Iraqis

A British bishop has criticized his government's policy of repatriating Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution, saying it was not true that Iraq was safe.

In a special Mass at London's Westminster Cathedral Nov. 26, Auxiliary Bishop William Kenney of Birmingham, England, denounced the policy. The Mass was celebrated for the victims of the Oct. 31 massacre at Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Syrian Catholic Church, where 58 people died as military officials tried to end a terrorist siege.

"We know the situation of our brothers and sisters still in Iraq who wake at night frightened by the knock at the door, the unusual sound, the gunshot or the explosion, the knowledge that few if any will defend them, the constant fear and tension of not knowing what will happen next," Bishop Kenney said in his homily.

"We who are here in England are angry when our government said ... that it was safe for people to be repatriated to Iraq," he told a congregation drawn largely from London's Iraqi Christian community. "You know in a way few others do how untrue that is.

"Our emotions are of deep sorrow and possibly also of anger: anger that innocent people are killed in this way, that our friends, our relations are sacrificed for, at best, short-term political gain, and, at worst, for no real reason at all, other than that they are followers of Jesus Christ."

He said the Christian people of Iraq were dying for their faith as martyrs and that he had known personally some of those killed in anti-Christian violence in Mosul and Baghdad.

Martyrdom "is something that the church in England and Wales understands," said the bishop, who was forced to cancel a December trip to Iraq because of the security situation. "The church in these countries is built on the witness of those put to death because they would not renounce their faith.

"Today, it is not only our relations and friends whom we have come to mourn," he said. "We have also come to honor them as people who have been killed because of their faith."On Nov. 22, Alistair Burt of the British Foreign Office told the BBC during that the government would continue to return all Iraqi asylum-seekers to their own country.

Burt said the government considered Iraq safe for repatriation because it was no longer a war-torn country.In October, the European Court of Human Rights wrote the British government to indicate that it opposed the policy.

The English and Welsh bishops, in a Nov. 19 statement, also urged the government "to review its treatment of asylum-seekers to ensure that those who have suffered persecution are given the protection that they deserve and to increase assistance to those Iraqis who have fled neighboring Iraq."

In Washington, the U.S. bishops praised a House of Representatives resolution that condemned attacks on religious minorities in Iraq and called for the U.S. government to work with the Iraqi government to protect vulnerable groups. They said they especially supported development of a "comprehensive plan to improve security for religious minorities and to increase their representation in the government of Iraq and to include them in all aspects of Iraqi society."

Catholic News Service

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Sadrists role in new Iraq government

The Shiite Sadrist movement was the key bloc that assured Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's re-election, and now the fiercely anti-U.S. fundamentalist group wants its cut in return: A bigger role in Iraq's new government. Already, it has gotten bolder on the ground.

One recent day, an intimidating group of Sadrists entered a lingerie store in the movement's Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City and brusquely told its owner to take bras and underwear out of his display window.

"I am not doing anything wrong," the owner lamented to an Associated Press reporter after the men left. Still, the owner, who refused to be identified for fear of being targeted, moved the offending items to the back of the shop. Nearby a cafe owner, similarly afraid to be identified, said Sadrists told him to keep teenagers out of his establishment or be shut down for corrupting youth.

Such intimidation by followers of the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr imposing their version of Islamic restrictions had waned last year in areas they traditionally controlled, after Iraqi security forces cracked down on the movement's Mahdi Army militia. But now they are increasingly back, emboldened by the movement's success in March 7 elections.

After winning 40 seats in the election, the Sadrists swung their support behind al-Maliki in a surprise move in September that was crucial in propelling him to a second term.Now the question of how much political power they will receive in return is unnerving Iraqis and Americans alike.

The Sadrists' Mahdi Army militia repeatedly battled with American forces since 2003 and was involved in brutal sectarian violence against Sunnis. In recent years, it has also grown closer to Iran, where the movement's leader al-Sadr is studying — meaning its presence gives Tehran yet another avenue of influence in Baghdad.

The Sadrist movement is pressing for a bigger presence in the police and military apparatus and could pick up key service ministries like Health, Education or Electricity, which would give them significant patronage powers for their supporters and wide influence over all Iraqis' lives.

American officials say they would reconsider aiding Iraqi forces that are under control of the Sadrists, whose militia repeatedly battled with American forces since 2003 and was involved in brutal sectarian violence. Sadrists consider American forces occupiers, so their presence in the government could also make it impossible for Iraq and the U.S. to negotiate an agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay longer.

In Cabinet negotiations, the Sadrists have been told they would not receive the crucial posts of defense minister or interior minister, who heads the police forces, said an Iraqi lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the government formation talks.

But senior Sadrist lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili said there is no red line against the Sadrists taking any ministries. He told the AP that his bloc was pushing for a post of deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs.

"The security file is very complicated and needs cleansing and special care," he said. The Sadrists have spoken of the need to shake up the security forces, raising fears they would want to push out some Sunni officers and install their own loyalists.

Al-Zamili was deputy health minister when the ministry was held by the Sadrists in a previous government. He was one of two former government officials accused of allowing Shiite death squads to use ambulances and government hospitals to carry out kidnappings and killings. The charges against the two were dropped, and al-Zamili denies any wrongdoing.

Iraqi political analyst Hadi Jalo said the Sadrists will try to push officers loyal to them into the medium ranks of security bodies where they could flout the rule of law with little or no oversight. But they realize the difficulty in getting top-ranking security positions since al-Maliki needs to maintain an agreeable relationship with the Americans, whose forces continue to help and train Iraqi troops.

The Sadrists are already reaping some benefits from their political status — including, it seems, the release of jailed members, one of their demands.

The number of Sadrists held in Iraqi prisons has fallen to 1,500, down from 3,000 five months ago, according to an Interior Ministry official. The official reason for the releases was lack of evidence, but the official said he believed the timing is part of al-Maliki's appeasement to the Sadrists. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Sadrist spokesman Ameer Taher al-Kinani denied any deal, saying the prisoners had been held by the U.S. military without arrest warrants and were freed once handed over to Iraqi authorities.

The partnership between Sadrists and al-Maliki is surprising since the two had been enemies since 2008 when the prime minister launched an offensive crushing the Mahdi Army in Baghdad's Sadr City district and the southern city of Basra. It took a deal brokered by Iran to bring the two sides to detente.

Now, the Sadrists seem to be feeling freer to re-impose their will in their strongholds.

In Basra, students say women at the University of Basra have been banned from wearing makeup, and mobile phone ringtones that aren't religious are frowned upon. Students trying to join the university's music department were threatened and eventually classes were canceled, according to professors.

As part of the deal with al-Maliki, the Sadrists may pick up two governor's positions in the provinces of Dhi Qar and Maysan in the Shiite south, according to provincial officials there who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

This would give Sadrists control of two oil-producing provinces also known as smuggling routes for weapons from Iran.

A Shiite parliament member from al-Maliki's bloc criticized the apparent deal.

"What is the use of provincial elections if the situation can be changed in order to satisfy a group of people?" said Mohammed Sayehoud, from Maysan's capital Amarah.

And if the Sadrists gain ministries like health, education, transportation and electricity, they would be in position to use services to win over voters and expand their position in the next election four years from now.

Much of the Sadrists' popularity with their poor supporters comes from the fact that they live side-by-side with their constituents instead of in Baghdad's Green Zone where many Iraqi politicians live.

"You can see sewage gathering behind the houses of even Sadrist politicians because they live in our neighborhoods," said Mohammed Adan, a 21-year-old Sadr City resident standing next to a massive sewage system being built along the Sadr City border. He credited the Sadrists with bringing the new project to his neighborhood.

"All of Sadr City is looking forward to such kinds of projects" under the new government, he said.

Associated Press writers Mazin Yahya in Baghdad and Sameer N. Yacoub in Amman, Jordan contributed to this report.

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No justice in Iraq
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