Iraq's Sadr Slams 'Maliki Arrest' of Election Headإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday accused the prime minister of having engineered the arrest of Iraq's electoral chief to serve his own purposes of staying in power.
Faraj al-Haidari, head of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), was detained on Thursday for alleged corruption along with another of the body's members, Karim al-Tamimi.
"The one who ordered the arrest is to be precise brother (Prime Minister) Nouri al-Maliki," Sadr said.
"Maybe the arrest is to the benefit of the brother prime minister, because in my opinion, he is working on postponing or cancelling the elections," he said in a statement from his office in Najaf.
Haidari "was arrested while there are other people more important than him who are walking (free) and controlling peoples' destinies," said Sadr, whose movement has 14 MPs in parliament and is a key member of Maliki's unity government
"The arrest of Haidari should be under the law and not under the power of dictatorship," he said.
Sadr's statement further ratchets up political tension, a day after the presidency of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region and a leading MP from Sunni-backed Iraqiya list said the arrests were an attack on democracy.