Top Iraqi cops fired after drug dealers escape jail

Top Iraqi cops fired after drug dealers escape jail
Several Iraqi police chiefs have been fired after 15 drug dealers dramatically escaped from a prison in eastern Baghdad.
2 min read
04 August, 2019
The drug dealers managed to overpower Iraqi police [Getty]

Iraq's interior ministry announced that several top policemen had been fired after 15 suspected members of a drug trafficking network escaped on Saturday from a police station in the capital.

"The defendants first insulted the police, then beat them and managed to escape" from the police station in the Sadr City district of eastern Baghdad, a security services official told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Baghdad's police chief and the heads of the Al-Russafa police department in the capital's east and the station where the suspects pulled off their escape were fired, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Prison security is a critical issue in Iraq, where escapes are not uncommon, whether by violence or bribery.

Iraq is the 12th most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International, and experts have pointed to high levels of corruption in its prisons.

During the years of resistance and sectarian violence that followed the United States' 2003 invasion, hundreds of Islamist extremists -- the majority from Al-Qaeda at the time -- were able to escape from prison.

Iraq is currently seeking to try thousands of local and foreign extremists, while keeping them in overcrowded prisons.

Many prisons have been rendered unusable by repeated conflicts.

The sale and use of drugs has been booming for years in Iraq.

Authorities regularly announce the seizure of narcotics and the arrest of traffickers, particularly along the border with Iran.

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