In March, we reported that Hassan Juma’a Awad, the chairperson of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, was due to appear in court on charges related to organising a strike against the Southern Oil Company in Basra. The court appearance was postponed sev …

Walton Pantland

HJA

In March, we reported that Hassan Juma’a Awad, the chairperson of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, was due to appear in court on charges related to organising a strike against the Southern Oil Company in Basra. The court appearance was postponed several times, and an international solidarity campaign launched.

We are pleased to report that Hassan Juma’a appeared in court yesterday for a brief hearing at which all charges were dropped. Counsel for Southern Oil, as well as the prosecutor, repeated their accusations against Hassan, but were forced to admit that no damage had been caused by his activities. The prosecutor called for the case to be closed and all charges to be dropped.

This was unexpected, and Hassan’s lawyer did not even need to present a defense, which shows how spurious the charges were in the first place. They were clearly just an attempt to intimidate the strikers, and used as a delaying tactic.

Southern Oil can appeal the decision, but Hassan’s union feels this is unlikely.

The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions has fought a long and hard battle to prevent the privatisation of Iraq’s oil resources, and to ensure that the benefit of the oil remains with the Iraqi people. They deserve our support and solidarity.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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