This file picture shows a view of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad.
A top Iraqi court has issued arrest warrants for the elections and referendum commission chairman of the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and his two aides over the controversial September 25 referendum on Kurdish independence from the rest of the Iraqi territory.
Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar told AFP on Wednesday that the warrants had been issued for Hendren Mohammed Saleh, Yari Hajji Omar and Wahida Yofo Hermez.
The court ruled that the three “organized the referendum in contravention of a ruling by the Iraqi supreme court,” which had found the vote unconstitutional and ordered it called off.
Hendren Mohammed Saleh, the head of the Kurdish region’s elections and referendum commission
Bayraqdar noted that the court in Baghdad acted in response to a request from the National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The Iraqi government said on Monday it would seek to bring mobile phone operators Korek and Asiacell, which are respectively based in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) capital Erbil and Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, under its control and move their headquarters to the capital Baghdad.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri (Photo by Anadolu news agency)
The development came a day after Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri met with KRG President Massoud Barzani.
Kurdish officials said on September 27 that the referendum on independence from Iraq
was approved by more than 92 percent of the voters.
Hendren Mohammed Saleh, the head of the Kurdish region’s elections and referendum commission, said the referendum passed with 92.73 percent support, and turnout stood at more than 72 percent.
Kurdish officials break the seals off a ballot box after the closure of polls during the Kurdish independence referendum at a polling station in Erbil, the KRG capital, on September 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
He said vote counting was complete and that the results would be considered final once they were certified by the Kurdish region’s department of justice.
The Iraqi prime minister has already demanded the annulment of the results.
During a recent press conference in Paris, Abadi said his government did not seek confrontation with Iraqi Kurds but reiterated Baghdad’s position that the referendum was illegal, and that problems should be solved within the framework of Iraq’s constitution.