Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has urged parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution of some lawmakers for lauding the Saddam Hussein era, saying they were harming the political process ahead of March elections.
The reemergence of heated debate over the Baath party, which ruled Iraq from the late 1960s until 2003 and was dominated by Saddam's fellow Sunni Arab minority, is roiling Iraqi politics less than two months before the parliamentary election.
Lawmakers were granted immunity from prosecution for political speech under the Iraqi constitution that was written following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
..."We confirm again that national reconciliation is indispensable. We say that this does not mean retreating to the past, or reconciling with those who want to return the country to the era of crime and tyranny," Talabani said in the statement that was issued by his media office late Monday.
Talabani singled out Dhafer al-Ani, a senior Sunni politician in parliament, accusing him of referring to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and his Anfal campaign which slaughtered Kurds in the 1980s as achievements.
In 2007, Iraqi security forces raided the home of Dhafir al Ani and found 65 Kalashnikov rifles and traces of TNT on four of the vehicles there.
Thanks sheytan al kabir for sending the Reuters article. The sheytan argues that most MPs have a criminal background.