ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Volunteer lawyers on Wednesday defended a Kurdish farmers’ session of a lawsuit in Baghdad against Iraq’s Ministry of Trade (MoT) for failing to meet the past four years’ payments in return for purchased wheat.
“Officials who are part of a special committee from the Ministry of Trade had received the wheat as per protocol,” Bashdar Hasan, a volunteer lawyer on the case, told reporters after the session.
According to Hasan, the MoT previously used excuses of lack of funds and excessive wheat that Baghdad had not demanded to justify the failure to meet payments.
The missed payments, belonging to an unknown portion of farmers, are from 2014 to 2017, Amin Bakir, the head of Gorran’s faction in the Iraqi Parliament, told Kurdistan 24 after the court session.
After the second session on Wednesday, the court will reach a resolution on Aug. 15, Bakir said, adding that “if the court complies,” then “other farmers can use the decision to lodge complaints” in efforts to “demand their rights.”
The Sardam Organization, an institution that defends the rights of farmers in the Kurdistan Region, had earlier filed the lawsuit against Acting Minister Salman al-Jumaili in the Iraqi Administrative Court.
The representative of the organization in Baghdad did not specify the date but stressed they would work hard for the financial rewards owed to farmers.
Baghdad, through MoT, buys wheat from farmers every year which they categorize into three grades according to quality and then use to facilitate the country’s rationing scheme. In return for the purchased product, the government delivers cheques which can be cashed on a turn by turn basis.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany