Iraqi Public Prosecution: 542 Corruption Cases Face Fugitives Abroad

Wednesday, 26 June, 2019 - 11:15
Baghdad - Fadhel al-Nashmi

Iraq's public prosecution has revealed 542 cases of corruption against suspects who have fled abroad since 2003 with most asylum-granting countries not cooperating with Iraqi authorities for the defendants’ extradition.

“Most countries are uncooperative on extradition requests for fugitive Iraqi suspects, especially when they have fled to Jordan, Britain and the US,” said Deputy General Prosecutor Hanaa Fayyad in a statement on Tuesday.

This is the first time this type of information is released by the Office of the Public Prosecution, which has often been criticized for ineffective and negligent performance by judicial activists.

“Iraq, represented by the judiciary and the public prosecution, is constantly working to bring back those fugitives home, but responses from other countries are not enough,” said Fayyad.

“Extradition of wanted criminals is a manifestation of cooperation among states against crimes,” she added, underscoring that Iraqi legislators had followed Iraqi law and international agreements when filing for extradition.

Despite Fayyad hyping the “effective role” played by relevant state bodies authorized to undertake extradition procedures, Iraqi authorities have failed to meet the required success rate for bringing fugitives facing serious charges, such as corruption, back home.

Since 2003, only about 4 to 5 corruption suspects were sent back to Iraq for trial.

The International Criminal Police (Interpol) in Lebanon arrested those wanted for charges of corruption and abuse of power. The most recent detentions saw the seizure of former Kirkuk governor Najmiddin Karim and former Baghdad Secretary Naeem Abaoub.

Nevertheless, authorities in countries the high-profile figures were arrested soon released them instead of going forth with the extradition. No clear justification was provided by any relevant party.

Former head of Iraq's Integrity Commission Judge Rahim al-Akili, for his part, blamed state inaction on supporting the case for the extradition of wanted suspects and fugitive criminals.

“Some states do not cooperate with extradition requests for multiple reasons, some of which are rejection related to the nature of the charges pressed against the suspect or the strength of the evidence presented,” Akili told Asharq Al-Awsat.

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