Iraq: police arrest Sunni MP on terrorism charges

Iraqi police arrested Ahmed al-Awlani, an MP and prominent Sunni supporter of anti-government protests, on Dec. 28 in the city of Ramadi. Awlani, a member of the Sunni-supported Iraqiya bloc was reportedly wanted on terrorism charges  along with his brother, Ali. Ali and five bodyguards were killed in the police raid, and 18 others were wounded. Awlani has been a strong supporter of a group of protestors who have camped on a highway outside Ramadi in order to rally against perceived persecution of Iraqi Sunnis by the Shia-controlled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Sectarian fighting between Sunni and Shia Muslims has been considerable this year; over 8,000 people have been killed, mostly in sectarian clashes, since January, making 2013 the deadliest year for Iraqi civilians since 2008.

Authorities in Iraq have led a significant and controversial crackdown on alleged terrorists in recent months. In October Iraqi authorities announced the execution of 42 people convicted on terrorism charges. The Iraq Ministry of Justice in August reported the execution of 15 men and two women convicted of terrorism. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in April condemned Iraq's execution of 21 prisoners convicted of terrorism earlier that month, urging the country's compliance with international human rights obligations. 

From Jurist, Dec. 28. Used with permission.

The UN has warned in recent months of a human rights crisis in Iraq, and especially noted the wave of executions.