Diplomatic row between Iraq and Sweden: 18 Iraqi police jailed
Two months after protesters stormed the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, an Iraqi court gave 18 police officers jail sentences of up to three years.
In July, protesters stormed Sweden’s Embassy in Baghdad, breaking into the compound and lighting a fire. They were reportedly angered and frustrated by the burning of a copy of the Koran in Sweden.
On Tuesday, the Internal Security Forces court in the Iraqi capital gave 18 police officers jail sentences for failing to stop protesters lighting Sweden’s embassy. The court slammed the police officers for allowing the protesters to attack the Swedish embassy amid the political row between Sweden and Iraq.
What did the Internal Security Forces court say?
On 12 September, eight Iraqi police officers received three-year jail terms, while seven officers got two years and three months jail terms. Three other police officers were sentenced to 18 months in prison. The court found them guilty of failing to carry out their duties.
According to the court verdict and knowledgeable sources, some police officers involved in the case were permanently expelled from duties.
Political row between Iraq and Sweden
In July, Sweden’s Embassy in Baghdad was set on fire by supporters of Moqtada Al Sadr, a Shiite cleric, Iraqi politician and militia leader. The protesters condemned the Koran burning incident in Sweden. In retaliation, they tried to burn Sweden’s Embassy in Baghdad.
Reportedly, two men set fire to a copy of the Koran in July in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The protesters demanded the termination of diplomatic ties with Stockholm. The incident led to a diplomatic crisis and political row between Sweden and Iraq.
Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi refugee, and Salwan Najem, another Iraqi refugee, trampled Koran before setting fire to it. In June, they also burned a copy of Koran in front of the Swedish capital’s largest mosque. The whole incident provoked a diplomatic crisis between Sweden and the Arab world. Various Muslim countries condemned Sweden over the incident.
The European Union (EU) also called the incident “offensive, disrespectful, and a clear act of provocation.” The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also condemned the incident. Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Republic of Egypt slammed Sweden over the burning of the Koran. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan also condemned the incident.
Recently, Iraq asked Sweden to extradite Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika. Lawyer David Hall said, “Iraq wants him extradited because he burnt a Koran outside the mosque in June.”