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Official: Iraq's top judge removed from post for alleged ties to Saddam Hussein's party

Iraq's panel tasked with purging government ranks of former members of Saddam Hussein's party has removed the country's top judge from his post because of alleged ties to the now-dissolved Baath party.

The deputy chief of the country's Justice and Accountability Committee, Bakhtiar Omar al-Qadhi, said on Thursday that the decision to remove Chief Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud from the Supreme Judicial Council was based on "strong evidence" supplied by parliament.

Al-Qadhi wouldn't discuss the details, saying that al-Mahmoud has 60 days to appeal.

After the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam in 2003, al-Mahmoud was appointed supervisor for the Justice Ministry and in 2005 he took over the Supreme Judicial Council that oversees courts nationwide.

Phone calls to the 80-year-old judge's office and to his spokesman were not immediately answered.