Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for owner of Iraqi broadcaster Dijlah TV

Iraqi authorities should immediately drop the arrest warrant for Jamal Karbouli, the Iraqi owner of Amman-based Dijlah TV, and allow Dijlah TV to operate freely and without fear of reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Tuesday. Dijlah TV has an office in Baghdad and broadcasts in Iraq.

Baghdad’s Rusafa Investigative Court yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Karbouli for allegedly insulting Shia Muslims in Iraq by broadcasting music on Dijlah TV’s affiliated channel Dijlah Tarab during Ashura, a day of mourning, according to news reports and copies of the arrest warrant and the complaint filed against Karbouli, which CPJ reviewed. The warrant said Karbouli’s place of residence is unknown.

Ashura, which started the evening of August 28 this year and ended the next night, is a holy day for Shia Muslims that commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in Karbala. According to news reports, Dijlah Tarab broadcast a concert during the holiday. In an apology, Dijlah TV blamed the administration of Dijlah Tarab, without specifying what went wrong, according to news reports.

“Offending religious sentiments cannot be a justification for ordering the arrest of the owner of a broadcaster, especially when the broadcaster has already issued a public apology,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “We call on Iraqi authorities to immediately revoke the arrest warrant against Jamal Karbouli and allow Dijlah TV to operate freely and without fear of retaliation.”

According to the same sources, a group of lawyers filed the complaint against Karbouli with the Baghdad court, prompting the court to issue the arrest warrant. The reports do not specify whom the lawyers represented in their complaint. If Karbouli is found guilty of offending religious views, he could face up to three years in prison according to Article 372/1 of the Iraqi Penal Code.

The Rusafa court also called on Iraq’s media regulator, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), to take legal and administrative measures against Dijlah TV, news reports said. On August 30, CMC released a statement saying that the commission is looking into the matter, according to reports.

Neither the Justice Ministry nor the CMC immediately replied to CPJ’s requests for comment sent via email and messaging app.

On August 30, Dijlah TV issued a statement apologizing to all the believers in Iraq and clarifying that Dijlah Tarab did not intentionally schedule the musical programming on the holiday, according to news reports.

The statement also said that Dijlah Tarab would temporarily cease its broadcast out of respect for Shia Muslims, and take administrative action against Dijlah Tarab administrators, though it did not specify what kind of action.

Yesterday, Karbouli published a statement on his Facebook account indicating that he would cooperate with authorities by saying that he will respect the judiciary and appear before it. The warrant CPJ reviewed, however, makes no mention of a summons or a court date.

Karbouli added on Facebook that the Dijlah Tarab channel airs only apolitical content and aims to promote Iraqi art and cultural heritage among the Arab public. It employs no journalists, he wrote, just computer technicians who live abroad.

Protesters yesterday gathered in front of the Dijlah TV of office in Baghdad, ransacked it, destroyed broadcasting equipment, and set it on fire, according to footage and pictures posted by Dijlah TV on its Twitter account, news reports, and Iraqi press freedom organizations. In his Facebook statement, Karbouli accused “dark militias” of being behind the destruction, though did not provide any additional details.

In addition to owning Dijlah TV, Karbouli is the leader of the Al-Hal movement, a Sunni-based opposition party, according to Karbouli’s Facebook page and news reports. Karbouli did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app.

CPJ has documented several previous incidents regarding Dijlah TV. In the course of antigovernment protests that began in October 2019, the station has been ransacked and torched by unknown assailants, raided and shuttered by security forces, and closed by the CMC.

(Source: CPJ)

The post Arrest Warrant for owner of Iraqi Broadcaster first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for owner of Iraqi broadcaster Dijlah TV

Iraqi authorities should immediately drop the arrest warrant for Jamal Karbouli, the Iraqi owner of Amman-based Dijlah TV, and allow Dijlah TV to operate freely and without fear of reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Tuesday. Dijlah TV has an office in Baghdad and broadcasts in Iraq.

Baghdad’s Rusafa Investigative Court yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Karbouli for allegedly insulting Shia Muslims in Iraq by broadcasting music on Dijlah TV’s affiliated channel Dijlah Tarab during Ashura, a day of mourning, according to news reports and copies of the arrest warrant and the complaint filed against Karbouli, which CPJ reviewed. The warrant said Karbouli’s place of residence is unknown.

Ashura, which started the evening of August 28 this year and ended the next night, is a holy day for Shia Muslims that commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in Karbala. According to news reports, Dijlah Tarab broadcast a concert during the holiday. In an apology, Dijlah TV blamed the administration of Dijlah Tarab, without specifying what went wrong, according to news reports.

“Offending religious sentiments cannot be a justification for ordering the arrest of the owner of a broadcaster, especially when the broadcaster has already issued a public apology,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “We call on Iraqi authorities to immediately revoke the arrest warrant against Jamal Karbouli and allow Dijlah TV to operate freely and without fear of retaliation.”

According to the same sources, a group of lawyers filed the complaint against Karbouli with the Baghdad court, prompting the court to issue the arrest warrant. The reports do not specify whom the lawyers represented in their complaint. If Karbouli is found guilty of offending religious views, he could face up to three years in prison according to Article 372/1 of the Iraqi Penal Code.

The Rusafa court also called on Iraq’s media regulator, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), to take legal and administrative measures against Dijlah TV, news reports said. On August 30, CMC released a statement saying that the commission is looking into the matter, according to reports.

Neither the Justice Ministry nor the CMC immediately replied to CPJ’s requests for comment sent via email and messaging app.

On August 30, Dijlah TV issued a statement apologizing to all the believers in Iraq and clarifying that Dijlah Tarab did not intentionally schedule the musical programming on the holiday, according to news reports.

The statement also said that Dijlah Tarab would temporarily cease its broadcast out of respect for Shia Muslims, and take administrative action against Dijlah Tarab administrators, though it did not specify what kind of action.

Yesterday, Karbouli published a statement on his Facebook account indicating that he would cooperate with authorities by saying that he will respect the judiciary and appear before it. The warrant CPJ reviewed, however, makes no mention of a summons or a court date.

Karbouli added on Facebook that the Dijlah Tarab channel airs only apolitical content and aims to promote Iraqi art and cultural heritage among the Arab public. It employs no journalists, he wrote, just computer technicians who live abroad.

Protesters yesterday gathered in front of the Dijlah TV of office in Baghdad, ransacked it, destroyed broadcasting equipment, and set it on fire, according to footage and pictures posted by Dijlah TV on its Twitter account, news reports, and Iraqi press freedom organizations. In his Facebook statement, Karbouli accused “dark militias” of being behind the destruction, though did not provide any additional details.

In addition to owning Dijlah TV, Karbouli is the leader of the Al-Hal movement, a Sunni-based opposition party, according to Karbouli’s Facebook page and news reports. Karbouli did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app.

CPJ has documented several previous incidents regarding Dijlah TV. In the course of antigovernment protests that began in October 2019, the station has been ransacked and torched by unknown assailants, raided and shuttered by security forces, and closed by the CMC.

(Source: CPJ)

The post Arrest Warrant for owner of Iraqi Broadcaster first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Al Monitor staff. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq-Jordan-Egypt summit urges increased trade as security concerns loom over region

A one-day summit in Amman, Jordan, on 25th August between Iraq, Jordan and Egypt discussed further economic cooperation and joint security efforts as the countries face growing attacks by extremist groups and economies battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting brought together Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi for the first time.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s national lockdown in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has reportedly given a boost to local businesses.

According to a report from AFP, local businesses no longer have to compete with imports from countries such as Turkey, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.

It quotes the owner of an ice-cream factory in Basra as saying:

“The coronavirus crisis has allowed us to prove ourselves on the Iraqi market.”

More here.

(Source: AFP)

By John Lee.

Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) has reported that its strategy to promote Aqaba as a gateway to Iraq and the wider Levant has delivered “a sharp increase in containers to Iraq (up 367% compared to previous year), and thus contributed to the positive results recorded for the past few months“.

The Founder and CEO of the Jordan-based Nile International Freight Services, Nasri Aqrabawi, said:

“We have found in ACT a true business partner which has supported us to develop the most efficient supply chain into Iraq.”

(Source: ACT)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has invited bids fto build the Iraq-Jordan oil pipeline.

The first phase will be built on the Iraqi side, stretching 700 km from Rumaila to Haditha. This will have a capacity of 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd). This will be built on an engineering, procurement, construction and financing (EPCF) contract model.

The second phase, on the Jordanian side, will run 900 km from Haditha to the port of Aqaba. This section will be built on a Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) model.

Bids will be accepted from qualified companies up to the end of May, with a decision to be made by the end of 2020.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Iraq Football Association has proposed Jordan to host its 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers, after FIFA requested an alternative venue because of ongoing protests, officials said Wednesday.

Iraq had been due to play the two games in Basra — against Iran on November 14 and Bahrain on November 19— but the southern port city has been caught up in the anti-government demonstrations that have swept Baghdad and the south.

“Jordan was chosen to host the matches against Bahrain and Iran,” Abdelkhaleq Masud, the head of Iraq’s football federation, told AFP on Wednesday.

The proposal must now be approved by FIFA.

Earlier, the Iraqi federation’s deputy head said FIFA had requested it move the games outside the country.

“FIFA informed us late Tuesday night that we must choose a new place, an alternative outside Iraq, for the scheduled match with Iran by Wednesday,” Ali Jabbar told AFP.

A statement from FIFA said it had assessed “the current security situation in Iraq” and informed the local federation that upcoming matches “must be played on neutral ground.”

“The Iraqi Football Association has been requested to nominate a neutral venue for the said matches, which is subject to confirmation by FIFA and the AFC,” it said.

Iraq tops its group for Asia Cup qualification with seven points, leading Bahrain on goal difference, while Iran holds third spot with six points.

Hong Kong and Cambodia each have one point.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

From The Economist.

Did American road-building in Iraq lead to more violence?

Drivers called it the “highway through hell”. Attacks on the road linking Baghdad to Amman occurred so often in 2014 that truckers were paid three times the normal rate to haul goods along the artery. Gangs and militias were a constant threat.

The jihadists of Islamic State set up roadblocks, charged drivers a tax of around $300 and even handed out receipts. The road, officially called Highway 10, was recently secured by the Iraqi army. But those who drive on it still face the threat of extortion or attack.

America spent loads improving Highway 10 after 2003, the year it toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s former dictator. Over the next decade, as the war in Iraq dragged on, America spent nearly $12bn on infrastructure in the country.

President George Bush touted the improved roads, hoping they would boost the local economy and lead to a reduction in violence. But a working paper presented at this year’s meeting of the European Economics Association suggests that the effort may have had the opposite effect.

Read the full article here (subscription needed).

Iraq has signed a landmark deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a power line to import 500 megawatts of electricity by 2020, local reports said on Sunday.

According to the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, the 300-kilometre line will run from Kuwait to Iraq’s southern port of Faw and be financed by the GCC.

Electricity Minister Lo’ai [Luay] Al-Khatteeb (pictured) signed the agreement with the head of the GCC Interconnection Authority, Ahmad Ibrahim, on the sidelines of an energy conference held in Baghdad.

This is the first deal of its kind with the GCC,” explained Al-Khatteeb. Iraq is also in separate talks with neighbours Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey to import electricity.

This first step will pave the way to discuss further and higher capacity projects,” the minister added, “not only to supply Baghdad and northern Iraq but also as a pathway to other countries.

(Source: Middle East Monitor)

Iraq has signed a landmark deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a power line to import 500 megawatts of electricity by 2020, local reports said on Sunday.

According to the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, the 300-kilometre line will run from Kuwait to Iraq’s southern port of Faw and be financed by the GCC.

Electricity Minister Lo’ai [Luay] Al-Khatteeb (pictured) signed the agreement with the head of the GCC Interconnection Authority, Ahmad Ibrahim, on the sidelines of an energy conference held in Baghdad.

This is the first deal of its kind with the GCC,” explained Al-Khatteeb. Iraq is also in separate talks with neighbours Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey to import electricity.

This first step will pave the way to discuss further and higher capacity projects,” the minister added, “not only to supply Baghdad and northern Iraq but also as a pathway to other countries.

(Source: Middle East Monitor)