Iraqi court issues arrest warrant for Kurdish former Kirkuk Governor

Iraqi judicial authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a well-known Kurdish politician who had to flee the city of Kirkuk after the Iraqi federal army and pro-Iran militias entered the province late last year.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi judicial authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a well-known Kurdish politician who had to flee the city of Kirkuk after the Iraqi federal army and pro-Iran militias entered the province late last year.

In a document dated May 22 obtained by Kurdistan 24, the Kirkuk Investigation Court granted permission for the Commission of Integrity to arrest the former Governor of Kirkuk Province, Najmaldin Karim, under the provision of Article 316 of Iraq’s Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to the same document, the commission, using Article 121, ordered the seizure of all of Karim’s properties.

On Sunday, the same court issued a warrant for the arrest of acting Head of Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC), Rebwar Talabani, a decision which he later said was repealed.

Both Talabani and Karim were influential Kurdish figures and staunch supporters of the Sep. 25 Kurdistan Region referendum for independence.

A Peshmerga and personal doctor to the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) first president, Mullah Mustafa Barzani, Karim left Iraq for the US in 1975 where he completed his neurosurgery training at George Washington University.

He came back in 2009 and was elected a lawmaker in the election. The Kirkuk's Governorate Council in March 2011 placed Karim in the role of governor, a position he maintained until Iraqi forces took over the region, driving the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and other officials out in October 2017.

Kirkuk, an oil-rich province inhabited by Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen, is at the epicenter of issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

Editing by Nadia Riva