Sunday, February 22, 2009

Time to lift Parliamentary immunity from prosecution

Iraqi Parliamentarians should not have been given immunity from prosecution.

Sunni lawmaker linked to 2007 parliament bombing, Iraq officials say

Hard-liner Mohammed Dayni remains free due to his immunity as a parliamentarian, officials say. Two of his bodyguards reportedly detail activities he masterminded, including burying victims alive.

By Tina Susman
February 23, 2009

Reporting from Baghdad -- Iraqi security forces Sunday identified a Sunni Arab lawmaker as a suspect in the bombing of the Shiite-dominated parliament in 2007 and a slew of other crimes, including burying victims alive and robbing gold stores.

The April 2007 blast, which killed a fellow parliament member, came at the height of Iraq's sectarian bloodshed and coincided with the start of the major U.S.-Iraqi security push that included the deployment of 30,000 additional American forces to Iraq. Violence is a fraction of what it was then, but parliament remains bitterly split along sectarian and ethnic lines. The latest announcement, coming on the heels of a victory in provincial elections by Shiite Muslims loyal to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, was likely to aggravate those divisions.

At a news conference, Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta Mussawi said hard-line Sunni parliamentarian Mohammed Dayni, who remains free because of immunity enjoyed by parliament members, had been named by two bodyguards as being involved in criminal activity. Security forces cannot arrest Dayni unless a court grants their request to lift his immunity.


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