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Iraq’s Amnesty Law And Its Dangerous Repercussions

Al-Mada, Iraq, October 27

Just when we thought that Iraqi politics could not get more cynical, it has been revealed that an undisclosed Iraqi parliamentarian, who is on trial for several corruption cases, has recently been appointed to Iraq’s Commission of Integrity, tasked with investigating corruption at all levels of the Iraqi government. This member of the parliament has supposedly embezzled over $70 million of Iraqi taxpayers’ money in the past few years. I personally believe that the outrage should not be over this individual’s appointment to the Commission, but rather over his appointment to parliament in the first place. This reveals a huge problem with the Iraqi political system, which was created in the aftermath of the passing of the 2016 amnesty law. According to this controversial bill, introduced to quell Sunni-Shiite tensions in Iraq, any Iraqi convicted of a crime between 2003 and 2016 would be eligible for amnesty, except for those convicted of severe crimes that resulted in death, rape, or permanent disability. This bill paved the way for numerous corrupt Iraqi politicians into the parliament. Many of them faced trial and were convicted, only later to be exonerated by the law. A handful of them ended up in parliament, and some, as we now know, even entered the Commission of Integrity. This, I’m convinced, is just the tip of the iceberg. I have already learned of numerous Iraqi politicians who hold fake degrees from fake institutions, who used legal loopholes to pay their way into parliament and avoid prosecution. This state of corruption in Iraqi politics should be alarming to anyone who cares about the future of this country. The Iraqi people have overthrown their despot only to have him replaced by a ruling group of corrupt businessmen who bought their way into parliament while burying their crimes. –Udnan Hussein