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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05BAGHDAD4071 2005-10-02 16:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

IECI LUKEWARM ON COALITION DETAINEE VOTING

Tags:   MOPS PHUM PINS PTER IZ 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 004071 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2015
TAGS: MOPS PHUM PINS PTER IZ
SUBJECT: IECI LUKEWARM ON COALITION DETAINEE VOTING

Classified By: Classified by David C. Litt, Political-
Military Affairs Counselor, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

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SUMMARY
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1. (C) The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq
has wavered in its support for MNF-I plans to allow
11,000 Coalition security internees to vote in the
October 15th constitutional referendum, suggesting
that IECI will provide monitoring teams only if Iraqis
held in pre-trial jails by the Ministry of the
Interior and Ministry Of Defense are also able to
vote.



2. (C) It is not clear that MOI in particular has
adequate resources for this project, nor that IECI can
supply teams to the large number of small, far-flung
MOI facilities. MNF-I has proposed instead that MOI
teams be invited to Coalition facilities on October
15th to watch Coalition-organized detainee voting,
with an eye to making similar arrangements for MOI
detainees in the upcoming general election.



3. (C) Senior ITG officials, including Deputy Prime
Minister Abid Mutlaq al-Jiburi have indicated that
they will speak directly to IECI members and urge them
to de-couple these two essentially unrelated issues.



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STRONG SUNNI AND MNF-I INTEREST IN DETAINEE VOTING


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (C) Interest in detainee voting is high in the
Sunni community. The Iraqi Islamic Party considers
the 11,000-strong, mostly Sunni detainee population to
be a key constituency, and is distributing copies of
the Korans to detainees this Ramadan; DPM al-Jiburi
has made stump speeches at several recent detainee
releases from Abu Ghraib.



5. (C) Many detainees have also expressed interest in
voting, though not always constructively. The most
damaging riot in a coalition detention facility to
date occurred on February 1, 2005, sparked by
detainees demonstrating in protest against their
inability to vote in the previous day's election.
(IECI opposed their participation, although it did not
provide a rationale.)



6. (C) In August, IECI appeared to support allowing
MNF-I detainees at Camp Bucca and Abu Ghraib to vote
in the October constitutional referendum, which would
require IECI to send a four-person team to each
facility. As a result, MNF-I has made the necessary
logistical arrangements (as well as commissioning
videotaped readings of the constitution for the
consideration of often-illiterate detainees).



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PREVIOUS IECI SUPPORT REVERSED


--------------------------





7. (C) However, last week interim UN Commissioner
Carina Perelli informed MNF-I that IECI would not
support voting by Coalition security detainees at Abu
Ghraib and Camp Bucca unless similar voting
arrangements were made by the Iraqi MOI and MOD for an
estimated 2,400 prisoners held in jails and holding
facilities nationwide - a logistically daunting
proposition in which MOI has shown little interest.
(Note: Under the Iraqi Penal Code, convicted prisoners
held in MOJ facilities are not entitled to vote for
any representative council.)



8. (C) MNF-I is proposing in response that MOI
personnel observe voting by Coalition detainees on
October 15th, in preparation for pre-trial prisoner
voting at MOI facilities in future. DPM Jiburi and
Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nermin Othman have
told us that they intend to urge IECI members to
support Coalition detainee voting on October 15th
regardless of MOI and MOD's ability to make similar
arrangements.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





9. (C) Given that in MNF-I's view there is little
connection between MNF-I making arrangements for
voting by Coalition security internees and MOI and MOD
doing the same for pre-trial prisoners in Iraqi custody,
it is tempting to draw the conclusion that IECI's UN
advisors are simply unenthusiastic about the prospect
of providing eight personnel to supervise voting at
Abu Ghraib at Camp Bucca.



10. (C) However, IECI to date has not expressed
concerns about their ability to provide teams for MNF-
I facilities. Unless the IECI expresses substantive
concern about capacity, or it appears that permitting
Coalition detainees to vote will hamper electoral
efforts elsewhere, MNF-I and the ITG officials will
continue planning for detainees at Abu Ghraib and Camp
Bucca to participate in the October 15th referendum.
Satterfield