UPDATE- Iraq’s top judicial body suspends activities amid protests

UPDATE- Iraq’s top judicial body suspends activities amid protests

Supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stage sit-in outside gates of Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad


BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraq’s top judicial body on Tuesday suspended its activities following a sit-in staged by supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

In a statement, the Supreme Judicial Council said it decided to suspend all judicial activities after al-Sadr’s supporters staged a sit-in outside the gates of the body's Baghdad headquarters to demand the dissolution of Parliament.

The statement accused al-Sadr’s supporters of pressuring the Federal Supreme Court to dissolve the Parliament, saying it put all judicial activities on hold in protest of such "unconstitutional acts and violations of the law.”

The council held the government and the political party standing behind the demonstration full responsibility for the protest's consequences.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi cut short his current visit to Egypt to attend a five-way Arab summit and returned to Baghdad, according to a statement released by his office.

Al-Kadhimi, according to the statement, warned that “disrupting the work of the judicial institution exposes the country to real dangers." He stressed that "the right to demonstrate is guaranteed by the constitution, with the need to respect state institutions to continue their work in the service of the people."

Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months following general elections last October, which has since failed to agree on a new government between rival parties.

Iraq’s The Federal Supreme Council was scheduled to consider a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of Parliament on Tuesday, but the session was postponed to Aug. 30.

On August 14, the Supreme Judicial Council said it does not have the authority to dissolve the Parliament.

*Ikram Imane Kouachi contributed to this report

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