Iran and its militias are preventing reforms in Iraq’s corrupted judicial system and even assassinating respected 

lawyers and judges

Millions of protestors in provinces across Iraq are calling for fundamental reforms in the judiciary and the removal of pawns in the court system who owe their positions to the discredited regime of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Iranian sponsors. But Tehran and its Shi’ia militias are not only vigorously obstructing these developments, they are employing threats, terror and even the assassination of upright and independent Iraqi lawyers and judges to frustrate any attempts at meaningful improvements to Iraq’s broken and corrupted judicial system.

On September 1, 2015, Hadi Ameri and Abu Mehdi Mohandess, two senior militia commanders and well-known elements of the terrorist Qods Force who are employees of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), met with Medhat Mahmoud, head of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council and announced their support for him. This was a blatant attempt to neutralize calls by the Iraqi people for the removal of Medhat Mahmoud whom the people have dubbed as Maliki’s puppet in the judiciary.

Another example of these attempts was the criminal assassination of lawyer Anwar Abed al-Hamid al-Bayati, 76, a notable independent Iraqi lawyer. He was killed on September 30, 2015 by militias affiliated with the Iranian regime. With 45 years of practicing law he was one of the bulwarks of reforms in the Iraqi judiciary.

In August this year, Ms. Saad Alousi, a lawyer renowned for her pro bonodefence of prisoners, was assassinated by unknown gunmen in Diyala Province.

In March 2015, Judge Thamer Houbi Khalil, an outstanding and respected Iraqi judge and senior judge of the Khalis Court was assassinated by agents of the Iranian regime. In the past few years, Maliki and his criminal gang had tried hard to persuade this judge to serve their criminal acts, but he resisted all their threats and enticements. In the cruel July 2009 attack on Camp Ashraf, Judge Thamer issued consecutive verdicts for the release of 36 Ashraf hostages, which greatly angered Maliki.

The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) strongly condemns the systematic assassination of progressive jurists by Iranian militias and calls on the Iraqi Bar Association, the Arab Lawyers Union, the European Lawyers Bar Association and all human rights organizations to condemn these crimes. We once again reiterate the need to hasten fundamental reforms in Iraq, especially to have Maliki and his hirelings in the judiciary stand trial. Without cleansing the judiciary from corrupt Iranian and Maliki elements reforms in Iraq will never progress.

Struan Stevenson

Struan Stevenson was a Conservative MEP representing Scotland in the European Parliament from 1999 until his retirement in 2014. He was President of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014. He is now President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)