An Iraqi man is suing the country's leaders to demand his fair share of the Arab state's oil wealth, a judicial spokesman said on Wednesday. Hussein Abdul Kadhim's court case is scheduled for August 29 in the provincial court of Diwaniyah in southern Iraq, said the province's appeals court spokesman Jihad Tuama.
"I filed a case against the three presidencies of Iraq, demanding my rights as a citizen, which are guaranteed by the constitution," Kadhim, a 46-year-old unemployed playwright, told AFP. Kadhim, a married father of six daughters, was referring to President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.
Article 111 of the Iraqi constitution states: "Oil and gas are owned by all the people of Iraq in all the regions and governorates."
"I demand my share of oil and gas extracted from Iraq, because I'm an Iraqi citizen and I must have a share of my country's wealth," Kadhim argued, without demanding any specific figure. Iraq produces around 2.7 million barrels of oil per day, of which around 2.2 million bpd is exported. Crude sales account for the lion's share of government revenues, much of which is lost due to corruption and incompetence.
The country has been ranked fourth most corrupt in the world by Transparency International, and widespread nationwide protests earlier this year railed against unemployment and poor public services. On Tuesday, Iraqi MPs voted to slash their wages and those of ministers and top officials in a bid to pacify protesters.