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Iraq Sunni party suspends participation in government over rights concerns

[JURIST] The Iraqi Accordance Front [BBC backgrounder], the largest Sunni parliamentary bloc, said Wednesday that it is suspending participation as a coalition partner in the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] and will permanently withdraw from al-Maliki's government unless al-Maliki pardons detainees not being charged with specific crimes and make a firm commitment to upholding human rights and disbanding private militias. The Iraqi Accordance Front holds six cabinet positions and 44 of 275 seats in the Iraqi Council of Representatives [official website, in Arabic]. It is the third largest party in parliament and an important partner in al-Maliki's National Reconciliation Plan [text].

Last Thursday, Sunni members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives ended a lengthy boycott of parliamentary sessions [JURIST report] after agreeing to a secret deal with Shi'a political parties to reinstate the ousted Sunni. AP has more.

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