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Head of Iraqi Judiciary Defends Performance amid Criticism in Tackling Killing of Protesters

Head of Iraqi Judiciary Defends Performance amid Criticism in Tackling Killing of Protesters

Friday, 9 July, 2021 - 06:15
Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq, Faiq Zaidan. (INA)

Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq, Faiq Zaidan defended on Thursday the judiciary against massive criticism from the people and local and international rights groups over his handling of and verdicts in several cases, especially those related to the killing and assassination of protesters and activists.


In an interview with the official state news agency (INA), he said the judiciary has issued warrants against the murderers of prominent researcher Hisham al-Hashemi as Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of his murder.


Zaidan did not elaborate over the case that has preoccupied the Iraqi public for a year.


Commenting on the progress in cases of the murder of anti-government protesters, he stated that some death penalties have been issued against officers in Babel and Wasit.


He added, however, that these cases are “complicated” as many sides are involved in them, including political parties eyeing electoral goals.


Months ago, government authorities had announced an official tally of 550 protester deaths in anti-government demonstrations. Thousands of others in Baghdad and central and southern provinces have also suffered critical injuries.


The government had formed teams to probe the violence but they have yet to announce any findings and rulings.


Asked about the release of prominent Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) official, Qassem Muslih, weeks ago after his arrest on suspicion of involvement in the killing of protesters, Zaidan replied that the judiciary had not succumbed to any pressure to let him go.


Rather, he explained there was insufficient evidence to implicate him in the murder of protesters, including prominent activist Ihab al-Wazni.


Moreover, he revealed that Muslih was not even in Iraq when Wazni was killed and that was why he was released.


The activist was killed in Karbala in May and his family openly accused Muslih of being involved.


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