BAGHDAD, Iraq - After Saddam Hussein was sentenced to hang on Sunday, Iraqi
security forces closed two Sunni Muslim television stations for violating curfew
and a law that bans airing material that could undermine the country's
stability, the Interior Ministry said.
Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the Interior Ministry spokesman, told The
Associated Press that the Al-Zawraa and Salahuddin stations were closed with the
approval of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
yells at the court as he receives his verdict as a bailiff attempts to
restrain him during his trial held under tight security in the heavily
fortified Green Zone, in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006. Saddam and
two others were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes
in the 1982 killings of 148 people in the town of Dujail.
He said that the stations violated a curfew imposed in three provinces by
speaking to people in the streets and airing comments that were deemed to
The owner of Al-Zawraa, legislator Mishan al-Jabouri, said later Sunday that
Iraqi police raided the headquarters of the station and cordoned them off
because of the channel's criticism of the verdict.
Al-Jabouri, leader of the small Sunni Arab Front for Reconciliation and
Liberation, had his parliamentary immunity stripped last month after he was
accused of embezzling funds intended for an armed force protecting oil pipelines
in northern Iraq.
Speaking from the Syrian capital of Damascus where he lives, al-Jabouri
echoed his TV station's criticism of Saddam's death sentence for the 1982
killings of 148 people in the Shiite town of Dujail.
"If Saddam had ordered the killing of some hundreds of Iraqi people, the
current officials in Baghdad deserve 1,000 death sentences because they cause
the daily killing of more than those killed by Saddam," he said.
In July, al-Maliki warned television stations against broadcasting video that
could undermine Iraq's stability.
Airing programs or comments that incite violence or call for hatred are
considered a violation of Iraq's anti-terrorism law, Khalaf said.
In September, the Iraqi government ordered the Arabic satellite network
Al-Arabiya to shut down its Baghdad operations for one month.
In November 2003, the US-appointed Governing Council banned Al-Arabiya from
reporting from Baghdad after it aired an audio tape said to be from Saddam
Hussein, who was still at large at the time. The station was allowed to resume
its work shortly afterward.
The Iraqi government closed the Baghdad news office of Al-Jazeera television
in August 2004, accusing the station of inciting violence. The office is still
closed but the station operates in the Kurdish-ruled area of the