A court in Baghdad, Iraq, on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for United States President Donald Trump over the death of a paramilitary leader during the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in January last year, reported CNN.
“After the completion of the preliminary investigation procedures, the judge decided to issue an arrest warrant for the outgoing President of the United States of America, Donald Trump,” a statement released by the Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq said. “The investigation procedures will continue to find out the other participants in the implementation of this crime, whether they are Iraqis or foreigners.”
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, was killed alongside Soleimani in a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. Soleimani was the head of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is considered a terrorist organisation by the US. Pentagon officials had confirmed that Trump ordered the strikes.
The Popular Mobilization Forces is a Shia paramilitary force comprising former militias that have close ties to Iran. A 2016 Iraqi law had recognised it as an independent military force that answers directly to the prime minister.
Agnès Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, had described the twin killings as “illegal” and “arbitrary”, according to The Guardian.
Besides Iraq, Iran too had in June issued an arrest warrant for Trump and 30 other US officials, charging them with murder and terrorism.
Following the airstrike that killed the two leaders, Trump had called the operation as taking out “two for the price of one.” He had called Soleimani a “noted terrorist” but did not describe him as an “imminent threat”. US administration officials had termed Soleimani as an “imminent threat”, justifying the attack.
The January 2020 airstrikes had come after Trump blamed Iran for orchestrating the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad and said he would hold Tehran responsible.
On January 21, 2020, Iranian lawmaker Ahmad Hamzeh had placed a $3 million (Rs 22.65 crore) bounty on Trump’s head. “On behalf of people of Kerman province, we will pay $3 million award in cash to whoever kills Trump,” Hamzeh had announced. Kerman was the home province of Soleimani.