Iraqi escapee decries fraud charge

Ayham al-Samarraie says the Iraqi government is under the influence of Iran.

    Ayham Al-Samarraie escaped from prison after being convicted on corruption charges [EPA]

    Samarraie, a secular Sunni who spent years in exile in the US and holds dual Iraqi and US citizenship, flew to Jordan after escaping from jail with the help of what he said "were a group of Iraqis and foreigners including Americans".
    He was convicted in October and sentenced to two years in jail for misuse of $200,000 in public funds.
    The conviction was overturned on appeal but he continued to be held.
    He said another 11 corruption charges against him had already been dropped for lack of evidence.
    Prison escape
    "The Iraqi government now is a sectarian government ... Some of them represent Iran more than Iraq," he said. 
    He said the US embassy was not involved in his breakout.
    The embassy has said it is working with the Iraqi government, which is investigating Samarraie's disappearance from Iraq.
    Samarraie said the Iraqi supreme court had already ordered his release on bail but he decided to break out and flee Iraq because he feared for his life in the lawless capital.
    "The supreme court decided on December 11 to release me and on December 17 they said that I had to go," he said.
    "Based on Iraqi procedures, they have to take me outside the Green Zone for fingerprints.
    "If they took me outside the Green Zone, I would ... have been kidnapped or killed immediately."
    He did not say which passport he escaped on or give details of his escape, but said he planned to return to the United States.
    He has been staying in Jordan, where he has residency.
    Samarraie had been detained at a police station on the outskirts of the Green Zone, a heavily fortified compound in Baghdad that houses the Iraqi government and the US and British embassies.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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