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Demonstrations continue in Iraq as prime minister considers protesters' demands

February 17, 2014 at 1:50 am

Iraqi scholar Sheikh Abdul Malik Al-Sadi arrived in Anbar from Jordan on Saturday to take part in demonstrations that have been taking place in the province for a week. The demonstrators are demanding an end to what they allege is the Iraqi government’s “marginalisation and exclusion policy”; they’re also asking for the release of prisoners as well as an end to inhumane treatment in the country’s prisons. Details of the Sheikh’s visit were provided by the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq.

The Association explained that the participation of Sheikh Al-Sadi in the demonstrations will give support and impetus to the protesters to continue until they achieve their legitimate demands.

Iraq’s Prime Minister, meanwhile, called on all Iraqis to unite against those “lurking against Iraq and its people”. Nouri Al-Maliki insisted that, “The moderates, wise people, religious scholars, tribal leaders and all benevolent forces must not let the extremists and those of malicious intent lead the country towards dire consequences, God forbid.” He was quoted in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Sabah, speaking to a delegation of religious scholars and notables, headed by the Sunni Mufti Sheikh Mehdi Al-Sumaidaie.

According to a statement issued by Mr. Al-Maliki’s press office, “The meeting was held in the context of the delegation’s efforts to build up a dialogue with the demonstrators and to achieve the legitimate requirements that were raised in the demonstrations.” The scholars confirmed that they will begin collecting names and grievances so that they can be followed up on the ground and necessary action can be taken.

With regards to the complaints about conditions in Iraq’s prisons, the scholars recommended the formation of a committee made up of themselves plus a number of judges to investigate and identify the shortcomings so that they can be corrected without delay.