ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi police forces on Saturday evening arrested a man selling wristwatches that displayed photographs of former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in central Baghdad.
Iraqi authorities, since the fall of Saddam, prohibit the promotion of the former regime and the Ba’ath party.
The Baghdad police department in a statement said they had received a tip from a concerned citizen that someone was selling wristwatches with pictures of Saddam Hussein in the background.
The man was selling the watches on Rabi’e Street in the al-Jaamia district of Baghdad’s Karkh suburb, the police explained.
The statement did not give further details about the arrest.
Iraq’s constitution prohibits the existence of the former Ba’ath party led by Saddam.
In the first part of Article 7, the constitution states: “Any entity or program that adopts, incites, facilitates, glorifies, promotes, or justifies racism or terrorism or accusations of being an infidel (takfir) or ethnic cleansing, especially the Saddamist Ba'ath in Iraq and its symbols, under any name whatsoever, shall be prohibited. Such entities may not be part of political pluralism in Iraq. This shall be regulated by law.”
The Iraqi judiciary recently said no decision or law had been implemented to punish Saddam Hussein’s supporters and pointed out that any step in this regard should be first initiated by the Iraqi Parliament.
This came after a popular poet appeared in the southern province of Dhi Qar, delivering a poem that many saw as a tribute to Saddam Hussein, who ruled Iraq for decades, from 1979 until his fall in 2003.
A few weeks earlier, students at an al-Anbar University presented a picture of Saddam Hussein at their graduating ceremony. Similar cases were repeated and others echoed slogans praising the former authoritarian ruler.
In Dhi Qar, a few days ago, the Faculty of Arts played the former national anthem of the prohibited Ba’ath party during the student’s graduation ceremony. Security forces arrested the organizers.
Saddam was sentenced to death by hanging on Saturday, December 30, 2006, after being convicted of crimes against humanity.
Sixteen years have passed since the removal of the authoritarian system in Iraq, yet the country continues to suffer from a chronic lack of basic services, poor infrastructure, high unemployment rates, poverty, and widespread corruption.
Editing by Nadia Riva