The Iraqi Federal Commission of Integrity FCI has sentenced four former members of the dissolved Kirkuk provincial council to 15 years in prison for using their positions to confiscate state property, including failing to return the provincial office vehicle.
The Kirkuk Criminal Court sentenced four former members of the Kirkuk provincial council to 15 years in prison in absentia on June 2nd for seizure of government vehicles belonging to the Kirkuk provincial office, the FCI said in a statement.
“They have refused to return the vehicles to office after termination of their mission,” the statement said on July 3rd.
“The court has investigated the documents, questioned the legal representative of the provincial council and the records of handover and delivery of the vehicles.”
The court's decision, a copy of which obtained by KirkukNow, did not mention the crimes, but stressed that the decision was issued under Article 316 of the Iraqi Penal Code and several other articles of the same law.
According to Article 316, any public servant or any person appointed to public service who abuses his position and illegally seize money or property belonging to another person or the state or institutions faces imprisonment.
The four members are Parwin Mohammed, a Kurdish, Irfan Kirkukli, Turkmen, Riad Mohammed, Arab, and Edward Awrahan Adisho, Christian. All the four were under the Kirkuk Brotherhood list, which was led by the two key Kurdish parties KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK and was a mixture of members of Kirkuk's ethnic groups.
The four members have been living in Erbil since the events of October 16, 2017 when the Iraqi security forces ISF took over the disputed territories and ousted the Kurdish forces.
Those members have fled Kirkuk to Erbil as the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP asked its supporters to leave Kirkuk following September 2017 referendum for independence. They have boycotted sessions of the Kirkuk provincial council before the dissolution of the provincial councils at the end of 2019 by the Iraqi parliament.
Located 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, the oil-rich province of Kirkuk is an ethnically mixed province for 1,7 million Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmens. It has long been at the center of disputes between Baghdad and the Erbil.
Intense negotiations among the political groups following last October General Elections have failed to form a majority parliamentary coalition to name a new prime minister to succeed Mustafa al-Kadhimi and a president of the republic.
Observers believe the courts are involved in the heat race between the political alliances crystalized following 2021 elections and are part of pressure cards to push their opponents for more flexible stands in order to form the new cabinet
The political crisis led to deadlock and direct and indirect confrontations between the groups divided between a group led by Shiite hardliner cleric Muqtada al-Asdr and pro-Iran Coordination framework.
“The court's decision is completely political. Their only goal is to return Kirkuk to us. This is a dream because we are not ready to obey them and that,” Irfan Kirkukli, one of the four members, earlier told KirkukNow in reaction to the court verdict.
“Security and political violations are carried out in the city (of Kirkuk).”
The court also entitled the harmed party (Kirkuk Provincial Office) the right to seek compensation through the civil courts.
"The court issued an arrest warrant for the four members and instructed all relevant parties to prevent them from traveling outside Iraq," the statement by FCI added.
The Kurdish political parties were holding the senior administrative and security positions of Kirkuk such as governor, head and deputy of the provincial council up to 2017 when the Iraqi government declared the defeat of the Islamic State ISIS and took over control in most of the disputed territories.
Back in October 2021 parliamentary elections, Kurds won 6 out of the 12 parliamentary seats of Kirkuk, four to Arabs, only two for the Turkmens and one quota seat for the Christians.
Currently, the Iraqi army, local and federal police, Brigade 61 of Special Forces along with Shiite paramilitary of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, are under Kirkuk joint operations’ command, an umbrella for the security forces running the security of Kirkuk province.