Baghdad-Hours after the parliamentary vote to strip Iraq’s Speaker Salim al-Jabouri of his immunity, Iraq’s Higher Judicial Council dropped charges against him and closed the case.
Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Judge Abdul Sattar Bayraqdar said in a statement on Tuesday: “The investigative committee set up by Iraq’s highest judicial authority to investigate the allegations has decided to drop the charges due to a lack of evidence.”
Bayraqdar explained that evidence obtained against Jabouri was insufficient, “therefore, I decided to release him and close the case against him.”
Earlier, Jabouri promised to prove his innocence before the Iraqi people. He spoke at the parliamentary session presided by his second deputy Aram Sheikh Mohammed after he decided not to chair any session until he is proven innocent.
Jabouri had promised the Iraqi people that he’ll prove the accusations of Minister of Defense Khalid al-Obeidi to be false.
Similarly, both members of parliament Mohammed al-Karbouli and Taleb al-Mamari asked for the authorities to lift their immunity and the parliament approved their request.
Karbouli, who is the second person to be accused by Obeidi, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the charges are false and not based on any grounds.
He said: “Since I am innocent of all the charges against me, I have decided to waive my parliamentary immunity to make it easier for the judiciary authorities to carry out their necessary investigations.”
Member of Iraqi Forces Union Karbouli stressed that his appearance before the court is evidence that he has faith in his innocence. He said: “I trust the Iraqi judicial system to be fair with me and acquit me of the false accusations that Obeidi used as part of political elimination.”
Legal advisor Ahmed al-Abadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision to drop the charges against Jabouri was done due insufficient evidence, and legally that doesn’t mean he is innocent. This means that the evidence was not enough and thus the case was closed, he added.
When asked about the immunity, Abadi said after the case is closed and once the decision reaches the parliament, immunity is returned without a legislative vote.
Abadi explained that a committee of three judges, which was formed over a week ago, examined the cases against Jabouri, Karbouli, and Mamari. He added that the procedures only needed to lift the immunity off Jabouri so that he can appear before the court.
The Iraqi Speaker had filed a suit against the Minister of Defense accusing him of defamation. Jabouri’s lawsuit intends to counter “false allegations” made by Obeidi “that have misled public opinion and insulted sovereign state institutions.”
Abadi said that this is a separate case and needs time to be proven. He explained that the corruption case against Jabouri is looked at by the court in the name of the Iraqi people, whereas the case against Obeidi is civil.
Meanwhile, Muttahidoon and its chairman Osama al-Nujaifi continue to support the defense minister and insist on the resignation of Jabouri even if he were acquitted.
After the meeting of a number of ministers, members of parliament, and Muttahidoon leaders, a statement was issued confirming their support to the minister of defense. The attendees said they’d wait for the judicial investigations to be over to take the appropriate measures.
The attendees renewed their refusal of Popular Mobilization Forces’ (PMF) participation in the Mosul liberation operations.