Social media posts

Man sentenced to six years for promoting Ba’ath Party ideology

BAGHDAD — The Karkh Criminal Court sentenced a man to six years in prison on Tuesday for promoting the ideology of the banned Ba’ath Party through social media.

The court found the defendant guilty of belonging to the Ba’ath Party and promoting its ideas, according to a statement from the High Judicial Council’s media office.

The evidence included posts found on his phone about the party’s activities and ideologies in 2023.

The verdict was issued under laws that prohibits the Ba’ath Party, along with racist, terrorist, and takfiri (excommunicational) parties, entities, and activities.

Takfiri is an Islamic term used to describe a Muslim or a group who declares another Muslim or a Muslim community to be an apostate, effectively excommunicating them from the faith.

After the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship regime, the Coalition Provisional Authority enacted laws banning the Ba’ath 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 Ba’ath regime.

Earlier this year, the Karkh Criminal Court sentenced three individuals to six years in prison each for promoting the ideas of the prohibited Ba’ath Party. This ruling followed their activity on social media during 2022, which included posts under the title “Assad (lion) Saddam’s Army,” and displaying posters that glorified the former regime.