Iraqi court sentences former head of Kirkuk Provincial Council to six years in prison
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kirkuk criminal court has issued a decree sentencing the former head of the oil-rich province's provincial council to six years imprisonment.
Sentenced in absentia, Rebwar Talabani was charged under the Iraqi Penal Code's Article 340, according to the court decree which Kurdistan 24 has reviewed.
"Any public official or agent who willfully inflicts damage on the property or interests of the authority for which he works or to which he is associated by virtue of his position or on another's property that has been entrusted to him is punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 7 years or by detention," reads the article.
While the decision was made on May 17, the judiciary only made the order public on Tuesday.
The court did not specify how the defendant was in violation of the penal code article.
In addition to describing his sentence as "politically motivated", Talabani told Kurdistan 24 that he was unaware of the decision since he had not received the order.
In addition to imprisonment, the court decreed the confiscation of Talabani's "moveable and immoveable properties" and put a travel ban on him.
Following the ousting of Peshmerga forces from Kirkuk province and other disputed territories on Oct. 16, 2017, Talabani moved to the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil. He is currently an advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
As head of Kirkuk's provincial council, he chaired a session in which the majority of members voted to fly the Kurdistan Region flag alongside the Iraqi one across the province. Both flags are recognized under the Iraqi constitution.
Talabani has been critical of the October 2017 offensive against the Peshmerga in Kirkuk and other disputed territories by the Iranian-backed militias and Iraqi forces. He believes his participation in the referendum, the role he played in raising the flag, and criticism of that offensive are what led to the issuance of the order.
The Kurdistan Region's people and residents of the disputed territories overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence in the Sept. 25, 2017, independence referendum.