Iraq's top judge removed over ties to Saddam party

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Associated Press

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 14 at 9:03 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's panel tasked with purging government ranks of former members of Saddam Hussein's party has removed the country's top judge from his post because of alleged ties to the now-dissolved Baath party.

The deputy chief of the country's Justice and Accountability Committee, Bakhtiar Omar al-Qadhi, said on Thursday that the decision to remove Chief Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud from the Supreme Judicial Council was based on "strong evidence" supplied by parliament.

Al-Qadhi wouldn't discuss the details, saying that al-Mahmoud has 60 days to appeal.

After the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam in 2003, al-Mahmoud was appointed supervisor for the Justice Ministry and in 2005 he took over the Supreme Judicial Council that oversees courts nationwide.

Phone calls to the 80-year-old judge's office and to his spokesman were not immediately answered.

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