Iraqi president withdraws pardon for ex-governor’s son after outcry

Barham Salih
Iraqi President Barham Saleh. (Photo: Jordan News)
BAGHDAD — Iraqi President Barham Saleh withdrew on Monday a presidential pardon granted to a former provincial governor’s son convicted of drug trafficking, after criticism over the move.اضافة اعلان

Jawad Louay Al-Yasseri, whose father was then governor of Najaf, was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to life in prison.

On January 10, he and two fellow convicts in the same case were quietly granted a presidential pardon and released.

But the decision caused a stir among lawmakers and journalists who criticized an alleged backroom deal involving the governor, who resigned a day before the pardon was requested.

The president on Monday “ordered the immediate withdrawal” of the pardon and the “arrest of the convicted persons”, according to a presidency statement.

The statement said the presidential pardon “formally conformed with the legal and constitutional procedures” but “was not carefully examined” and “did not comply with the strict controls”.

The president ordered a commission of inquiry to complete its work to identify those responsible for the oversight and hold them accountable, according to the statement.

Saleh had ordered on Saturday an “urgent investigation” over the pardon, which was granted upon recommendation from the cabinet.

The ex-Najaf governor, who stepped down in the face of corruption accusations against him, has insisted on his son’s innocence and said he was targeted to damage his father’s reputation.

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