Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq issued an arrest warrant for a media figure and author for his scathing criticisms of judicial authorities, a spokesman of the country’s top judicial council said Thursday.
Iraq’s High Judicial Council had recently issued an arrest order for Hashe al-Aqabi for criticisms he levelled to judicial authorities through social media.
Spokesperson of the council, Abdul-Sattar Bayraqdar, said in a statement that Aqabi was arrested based on the penal code for “insulting the judiciary and disseminating lies through social media”.
The spokesman rebuffed the wide condemnation of the arrest on behalf of rights activists, saying “criticisms should have rather been directed towards the lies the media host made to insult the judiciary and weaken citizens’ confidence in it during this critical period”.
Aqabi, a popular media host known of his critical stances on Iraqi politics, has recently lambasted the judicial service though his facebook page.
At one post dated June 26th, he suggested that political groups that lost in the latest parliamentary elections held in May were behind two incidents of arson and sabotage of voting instruments and documents depots run by the High Elections Commission, adding that commission members were complicit with the culprits.
Iraq’s first parliament elections since the ouster of Islamic State militants were surrounded by accusations of forgery, prompting the judiciary and parliament to order a manual recount of votes. Authorities said they were investigating a fire that caught at the ballot boxes stocked in Baghdad, which destroyed nearly half of the boxes.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and several other political figures had said the fire was “intentional”.