Kurdistan Parliament extends anti-terror law despite opposition of Islamic parties

10 Members of Parliament from three main Kurdish Islamic parties voted against the extension.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s parliament has extended its counter-terrorism law despite facing opposition from some of the Islamic political parties.

On Sunday, the Parliament of the Kurdistan Region held a session to discuss several matters, including an extension to the current counter-terrorism law which is set to expire this summer.

The Kurdistan Parliament, by majority vote, kept in place counter-terrorism measures which have been in effect in the Region for the past few years, according to a Kurdistan 24 correspondent attending the vote.

The correspondent also noted that 10 Members of Parliament from the Islamic Group of Kurdistan-Iraq (KIG), the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan, and Islamic Union of Kurdistan (KIU) voted against the extension.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Gorran Movement along with a number of MPs from the KIU, voted in favor of renewing special powers to the counter-terrorism forces.

The Kurdistan Region’s counter-terrorism law first expired in July 2016, after Parliament failed to vote to renew it at the height of disagreements and political turmoil between the KDP and the Gorran Movement.

Mardan Khidr, a parliament member from the KDP bloc speaking to Kurdistan 24, said that the law was initially viewed as a temporary measure to deal with the instability that plagued the Kurdistan Region and wider Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime. 

Khidr added that an extension of the law would grant the Kurdistan Region’s security forces the powers and tools needed in countering the terror threats the Region may face.

Security forces in the Region have carried out several operations under the counter-terrorism law’s mandate, particularly following the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in 2014.

The counter-terrorism law was ratified in 2006 and has been extended at least four times by the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament. Its scope and nature vary from the federal government of Iraq’s own anti-terror laws. 

Editing by Nadia Riva