Search

 

Cablegate: Karbala Jam Cases Underscore Judicial Progress

VZCZCXRO5313
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3405 2991332
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251332Z OCT 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0081
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
PROG

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003405

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KJUS PHUM PINR IZ
SUBJECT: KARBALA JAM CASES UNDERSCORE JUDICIAL PROGRESS

REF: BAGHDAD 2861

This is a PRT Karbala Reporting Cable

1. (SBU) Summary: A Karbala court on October 20 convicted
two Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) members of possessing improvised
explosive devices (IEDs) and sentenced them to life in
prison. Days earlier, the same court acquitted five JAM
members accused of setting fire to police vehicles during the
violence that marred the Shabaniyah observances in August
2007. The two cases illustrate the provincial judiciary's
growing confidence and ability to adjudicate sensitive cases
in accordance with the facts, auguring well for long-term
stability and a fair and independent judiciary in Karbala
Province. End Summary.

Zero Tolerance for Terror
-------------------------

2. (U) On October 20, Karbala's Major Crimes Court sentenced
two JAM members to life in prison for possessing IEDs.
Evidence showed that the men, ages 24 and 27, possessed 23
IEDs in their residence when they were arrested in April
2008, and were conspiring to commit terrorist acts. In
handing down the life sentences, the judge signaled Karbala
Province's zero-tolerance approach toward terrorism.
Unfortunately, the trial was not reported in the local media,
thus reducing its potential general deterrent effect.

3. (U) The sentences were consistent with the court's
high-profile conviction on August 28, 2008, of Ali Abd
al-Ta'an, aka "Ali Shariah." He and the gang of JAM thugs he
led were found to have committed numerous murders and
assaults culminating in the deadly violence that marred the
Shabaniyah observances here in August, 2007 (reftel). Abd
al-Ta'an was sentenced to death.

JAM Membership Not a Crime
--------------------------

4. (U) Days before the conviction of the two JAM members,
Karbala's Major Crimes Court in mid-October acquitted five
defendants accused of setting fire to police vehicles during
the previous year's Shabaniyah mayhem. The defendants were
arrested in December 2007, and remained in custody until the
trial. The only evidence presented against them was their
confessions, which the men alleged were extracted through
torture (one described being hung upside down by his feet,
another said his toenails had been pulled out).

5. (U) The judge ruled that there was credible evidence that
some of the men had been tortured. In addition to the
court-assigned defense attorneys' passionate pleas for
acquittal, the prosecutor argued that the five should be
freed. In acquitting the defendants, the presiding judge
ruled that neither supporting Muqtada al-Sadr nor JAM
affiliation are illegal. He further noted that the JAM is
not a terrorist organization under Iraqi law. Upon their
acquittal, the jubilant defendants began chanting "tahya
al-adala!" -- long live justice.

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) Karbala's judicial system continues to impress as it
matures. While serving notice that terror and violence will
not be tolerated, the court also has affirmed that cases will
be judged on the basis of the facts, with "evidence" acquired
through coercion deemed to be of little probative value. The
progress made by Karbala's third branch of government augurs
well for public confidence in the rule of law and, as a
result, for long-term stability in the province. Such
positive effects are mutually supportive. In his
conversations with the PRT's Rule of Law Advisor, Karbala
Chief Appellate Judge Abid Nour Farhan al-Fatlawi has
credited the improved security situation here with enabling
the justice system to function independently. End Comment.
CROCKER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC