The head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and one of its members were arrested by police on Thursday on corruption charges, IHEC officials said, in the latest apparent move for more government control of independent bodies.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won a court ruling in January 2011 that put the IHEC and other entities, including the central bank, under cabinet supervision, raising concern over attempts to consolidate power by the Shi'ite premier.
An IHEC official who declined to be named said a judge had issued a court order for police to arrest the head of the IHEC, Faraj al-Haidari, and member Karim al-Tamimi on charges they had given bonuses to some employees of the body.
Haidari confirmed to Reuters by telephone that he and Tamimi had been arrested but denied the graft charges.
"It has nothing to do with corruption at all," he said.
"The whole issue occurred in 2008 when the IHEC council was authorised to give some bonuses... The amount is 100,000 Iraqi dinars ($85.76) for each person, they were five or six only. There was an approval from the Iraqi board of supreme audit."
Haidari and other IHEC members were summoned to parliament last July to respond to questions about the bonuses, but a vote of no-confidence against the commission failed to carry.
Political tensions have been running high in Iraq since December, when Maliki moved against two senior Sunni politicians following the withdrawal of U.S. troops nine years after the invasion that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
Critics fear that the premier may be showing autocratic tendencies in some of his actions and view Maliki's control over key security ministries with suspicion.
On Wednesday, a parliamentary source said parliament had sent a letter to the cabinet reminding it not to interfere in central bank policy and not to assert its authority unconstitutionally.
Ramallah-based Fatah movement had invited representatives of rival faction Hamas – which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 – to attend the event
Snowden's leaks indicated that GCHQ and the NSA had intercepted and monitored phone, email and social media communications on a massive scale, causing global uproar.
Thaliand's military junta has applied to join UN Human Rights Council, but laws on insulting monarchy threaten to undermine its application
Judges postponed trial proceedings in order to hear arguments from the plaintiffs' lawyers at the next hearing
Moscow has said the request is related to suspicion of fraud dating back to 2004 and 2005. Koblyakov has denied the charges and says he fears political persecution by Russian authorities
18,000 dwellings were destroyed or damaged in 50 days of Israeli attacks, and 108,000 people are homeless in a long impoverished, isolated territory.
ISIL seized large areas of Deir al-Zor's industrial region, meaning it now controls more than half the city
Haroon Aswat, 40, a British citizen of Indian descent, is wanted in the United States for allegedly conspiring to establish a militant training camp
Leung Chun-ying was talking just hours before the start of formal talks between student protest leaders and city officials aimed at defusing the crisis
22 people, including attackers, killed in a market place by 4 armed men in East Turkestan
Hamas denounced what he described as "blackmail" by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who recently said reconstruction of the war-battered strip would be halted if Hamas began repairing cross-border tunnels
Ibrahim Ghandour, vice president of the National Congress Party, told Reuters Bashir had been chosen by the party's decision-making council out of five candidates
Israeli forces fired dozens of teargas canisters at Palestinians demonstrating outside Israel's Ofer Prison in Ramallah
Canadian media, citing police, identified the driver as Martin Couture-Rouleau, a resident of the town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, near Montreal.
The maritime portion of "Keen Sword" will be held east of Japan's major southern island of Kyushu, but not in the East China Sea, which lies to the other side of the island
Stop the War Coalition warns British government decision to send drones to surveil ISIL will inflame conflict in Middle East