As other countries refuse

Iraq struggles to repatriate 55 wanted individuals

BAGHDAD, January 15 — The Iraqi government, facing challenges in its efforts to repatriate individuals wanted for various charges, has encountered resistance from countries where these individuals have obtained citizenship. Basim Al-Awadi, the government spokesperson, discussed these issues in an interview with the state TV channel.

Al-Awadi stated, “Last year was truly a year of harvesting results. A simple look at the Integrity Commission’s website reveals a significant jump in numbers. From the formation of the Commission until the beginning of 2023, we only managed to bring back 7 wanted individuals. However, in 2023 alone, we succeeded in repatriating 18.”

He further elaborated that most of the wanted individuals are linked to financial crimes and are accused of embezzling funds. “The Prime Minister has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prioritize the repatriation of these individuals when our officials meet with representatives of other countries,” Al-Awadi explained, adding that this will be a key factor in evaluating Iraq’s relationships with these countries.

Al-Awadi highlighted the difficulties encountered with certain countries in the extradition process. “We have 55 wanted individuals for whom we have issued repatriation requests, but these have been rejected. One of the reasons is them acquiring citizenship or passports of these countries, or other impediments that prevent these countries from extraditing the wanted individuals unless an agreement is signed with Iraq to facilitate the process,” he said.

The spokesperson also mentioned the support Iraq receives from international organizations in combating corruption. “There are independent organizations from France, Germany, Switzerland, and others. The Integrity Commission has signed several agreements with them to support the Commission with expertise in fighting corruption,” Al-Awadi added.