Iraqi PM stops arrests without warrants

April 1st, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by admin  

Baghdad, April 1 (DPA) Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered security forces in Baghdad not to carry out security sweeps and arrests unless they had court warrants, a security official said Tuesday. Al-Maliki ordered security forces, however, to be firm with all those breaking the law and using weapons, General Qassim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad operations, told the Voices of Iraq news agency.

It remains unclear whether the order will apply only to Baghdad or will be extended to other parts of Iraq.

The move came after the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged government to stop random arrests of members of his Mahdi Army militia.

Al-Sadr ordered his militiamen to stop fighting government troops in Basra and other Shia-dominated cities and areas in Baghdad, heralding an end to deadly clashes that erupted last Tuesday.

The truce in Basra is still holding. Normal life is resuming as Iraqi security forces continue to carry out a campaign to disarm militias and crack down on outlaws.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the government would continue a crackdown on militias and criminal gangs.

The political process was obstructed by militias infiltrating security forces, Salih said.

“The loyalty of security bodies, whether the police or the army, should be to Iraq and the state, not to political parties,” Salih added.

“The situation in Basra is not easy against a backdrop of power struggles and rivalries. There are armed gangs wreaking havoc in Basra and its ports,” the deputy premier warned.

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