A Baghdad court on Sunday, 22 October, sentenced in absentia Raghad, the eldest daughter of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein, to seven years in prison for “promoting” her father’s outlawed Baath party.
The Iraqi Baath party ruled the country from 1968 until it was dissolved and outlawed after Hussein’s regime was toppled by an illegal US-led invasion in 2003.
Baghdad’s Criminal Court of Al-Karkh issued the sentence, and local Iraqi media and social media users have circulated a copy of the court’s decision.
The court issued its sentence for Raghad’s involvement in spreading the ideas and opinions of the banned Ba’ath Party through her appearance in the media and promoting its ideas on television channels in 2021.
The court also clarified that she was sentenced as per Article 9 of the Law for Prohibiting the Ba’ath Party, Entities, Parties, Racist, Terrorist, and Takfiri Activities, which was issued by the Iraqi parliament in 2016,” according to the court’s verdict.
The ruling does not indicate the exact interviews over which she was convicted, and the sentence can be appealed.
In 2021, she spoke on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel about Iraq’s conditions under her father’s reign from 1979 to 2003.
According to information obtained by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab’s Arabic sister language website, a team of lawyers close to Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of Iran-backed Badr Organisation, has filed multiple legal complaints against Raghad following her interview.
“The court attempted to notify the defendant through phone contacts with the presence of an appointed lawyer, but this did not happen, leading to the issuance of an absentia verdict,” close sources told the website.
Raghad, who resides in Jordan, has yet to have any statement on her formal account on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.
In another interview with Al-Mashhad channel in May 2023, and response to statements by Iraq’s former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, she said that the corpse of her father had been transferred from Iraq and that “One day his corpse would be returned to Iraq in a giant military and public ceremony.”
Although she is not known to be involved in any political activities, she occasionally talks about the general situation in Iraq, which has led to a wave of political statements within Iraq and warnings about the return of the Ba’ath Party to power.
Jordan’s Independent Electoral Commission on 14 May approved the political participation of 27 political parties, including the Arab Socialist Baath Party, after changes to its electoral law required all existing political groups to be re-licensed to resume political activities in the country.
Thousands of Iraqis on X were angry with Jordan’s decision and considered, “It involves improper intentions towards Iraq and its stability.”
Saddam Hussein is remembered for committing mass atrocities during his 24 years in power.
He was accused of targeted political killings against his opponents and ordered massacres in multiple parts of Iraq. Hussein was eventually toppled in a US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and later executed in 2006.
Source : The New Arab