10/12/2017, 09.23
Send to a friend

Iraq orders arrest of Kurdistan officials over independence vote

The arrest warrants apply to members of the Kurdistan Region's electoral commission. The vote was "contrary to the decision of the high federal court”. Kurdish leaders said "Yes" provided mandate to start negotiations on secession. Baghdad considers the vote in conflict with the Constitution.


Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) - An Iraqi federal court has ordered the arrest of Kurdistan officials involved in overseeing a referendum last month on the region's independence.

The arrest warrants, issued by Baghdad's Rusafa investigation court, apply to members of the Kurdistan Region's electoral commission.

On 25 September, the autonomous region in northern Iraq held a referendum on independence, which ended with an overwhelming victory in favor (over 90%  yes). The vote was also held in the controversial territory of Kirkuk.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last month demanded the suspension of the controversial vote.

Kurdish leaders later insisted the referendum was legitimate.

On Wednesday, the Rusafa court said "legal measures" would be taken through the office of the public prosecutor against those Kurdistan officials it said were involved in supervising the vote.

A spokesman for the court, Abdulstar Bayraqdar, said the warrants followed a lawsuit filed by the country's National Security Council which argued that the referendum was "contrary to the decision of the high federal court".

Following the vote on 25 September, Kurdish officials said 2.8 million people living in the three provinces that form the Kurdistan Region, as well as "areas of Kurdistan outside the region's administration", had voted in favour of independence.

Kurdish leaders said the "Yes" result provided them with a mandate to start negotiations on secession with the central government in Baghdad and neighbouring countries.

However Mr Abadi has called for the referendum, in which 92% of voters backed secession, to be annulled.

Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East but they have never obtained a permanent nation state.

In Iraq, where they make up an estimated 15-20% of the population of 37 million, Kurds faced decades of repression before they acquired autonomy in 1991.


Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Kirkuk, clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish troops. Fear of a new conflict
16/10/2017 10:34
Tensions between Baghdad and Erbil worry Christians and hinder the return of displaced persons
26/10/2017 14:10
Barzani: Ready for new borders of Kurdistan
11/09/2017 09:38
Erbil offers to 'freeze' the results of the independence referendum
25/10/2017 09:38
Kerbala, Iraqi Shiites celebrate Ashura in anti-Kurdish key
02/10/2017 12:25