Posted on July 3, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Politics
Massoud Barzani, whose term as Kurdistan President ended on August 20, 2015 but refused to step down and remains unofficially in office. Photo: Courtesy/sm
HEWLÊR-Erbil, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Masoud Barzani has commuted sentences for 67 prisoners in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region since August 2015, according to a Kurdish lawmaker who argues Barzani no longer has the authority to grant clemency to convicted criminals.
Massoud Barzani, whose term as Kurdistan President ended on August 20, 2015 but refused to step down and remains unofficially in office.
Change Movement (Gorran) MP Sherko Hama Amin told NRT on Sunday that Barzani ordered the release of eight prisoners serving life sentences back in May, and commuted one prisoner’s sentence from the death penalty to life in prison.
A life sentence in the Kurdistan Region amounts to ten years.
NRT obtained a photograph of a document dated May 23 bearing the Kurdistan Region Presidency’s logo and Barzani’s signature that invoked Article 10 of the presidency law to grant early release for eight prisoners.
“According to paragraph six of Article 10 from the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency Law, we have decided to pardon prisoners from needy families to help their situation and promote progress in the Kurdistan Region,” the document stated.
MP Amin however claimed that Barzani lacked the authority to release the prisoners due to an ongoing dispute over the presidency.
Massoud Barzani’s second term as president ended in July 2013 but was extended by two years by Kurdish MPs who said the region was not ready to elect a new leader at the time.
That two-year presidential term extension expired at midnight on August 20 and subsequent political infighting prevented the region’s leaders from agreeing on a new president and how to appoint one.
In April 2014, Massoud Barzani has sets condition to leave power, he told Sky News Arabic that he was ready to leave power only if the Kurdish enclave parties reach an agreement over the way to govern Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan.
But in March 2016 Massoud Barzani said the day we have an independent Kurdistan, I will quit presidency. Barzani told al-monitor “The day we have an independent Kurdistan, I will cease to be the president of that Kurdistan”
Barzani has been accused by critics of amassing huge wealth for his family instead of serving the population. Barzani’s son is the Kurdistan region’s intelligence chief and his nephew Nechirvan Barzani is the prime minister.
Barzani’s KDP party accused of a monopoly all government’s positions in Erbil, and it does not believe in the principles of true partnership and and peaceful transfer of power.
A member of Change Movement (Gorran) has asked Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to remove Massoud Barzani. “Barzani is the illegal president of the region since August 2015 and Abadi should, personally, and according to the constitution try to remove him from power,” Tavge Ahmad was quoted by al-Malomeh News Agency.