Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) An Iraqi parliament member said Monday that the chamber puts arrests of proponents of Kurdistan’s secession from Iraq as an option in dealing with the divisive referendum.
Hassan Khallati, a member of the Mowaten (citizen) parliamentary bloc, told Alsumaria News that a current referendum held by the autonomous Kurdistan Region violates a recent verdict by Iraq’s federal court which ordered to cancel the vote. He said that overrunning that verdict involves legal consequences.
He said penal measures are considered by a parliament committee formed by the parliament’s speaker to address the referendum, noting that one measure could be “approaching international bodies to arrest whoever endangers the country’s unity and sovereignty”.
Kurds headed to voting stations on Monday to partake in a plebiscite on independence from the central government in Baghdad, a move objected by the Arab-led government in Baghdad, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and regional powers Iran and Turkey.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has repeatedly vowed to take legal action if Erbil proceeded with the vote.
Kurdistan gained actual autonomous governance based on the 2005 constitution, but is still considered a part of Iraq. The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of conflicts.
Baghdad and Erbil have for long disputed sovereignty over a number of regions, most notably the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, besides contending over petroleum exports’ revenues from those regions.