Bookseller arrested for alleged Baath promotion
BAGHDAD, January 25 – The Iraqi National Security Service (INSS) on Thursday arrested a Baghdad bookstore owner for allegedly promoting the Baath Party ideology. The arrest included confiscating 40 books with images of Saddam Hussein, the former dictator.
After the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) enacted laws banning the Baath Party and criminalizing the promotion of its ideology. These laws prohibit displaying symbols, images, or propaganda linked to the former regime.
Simultaneously, the government launched a national reconciliation program aimed at addressing societal divisions and integrating those who did not commit crimes under the Baath regime. However, local analysts contend that the process has been co-opted for politicized and sectarian purposes.
The INSS issued the following statement:
Based on tips from local residents and ongoing surveillance, the Baghdad division of the National Security Service, with judicial authorization, apprehended a bookstore owner accused of promoting the now-defunct Baath Party and its regime. The operation, conducted in a centrally located shopping mall, led to the discovery and confiscation of 40 books featuring the former president, along with over 20 notebooks adorned with the deposed leader’s images. The bookstore owner was taken into custody, and both the individual and the confiscated items were handed over to the appropriate legal authorities for further action.
In a related incident, our Baghdad unit also detained a person accused of publicly praising the former regime during New Year’s celebrations.