First Published: 2012-09-09

 

Iraq court sentences Iraq's fugitive Vice President to death by hanging

 

Court convicts Tareq al-Hashemi, top critic of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, of murder, sentences him to death.

 

Middle East Online

By Ammar Karim – BAGHDAD

Hashemi has taken refuge in Turkey

Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a top critic of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, was convicted of murder Sunday and sentenced to death by hanging, in a decision likely to renew political tensions.

Hashemi, tried in absentia, has dismissed all charges against him as politically motivated. A Baghdad court also tried in absentia his secretary and son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan and sentenced him to death.

The trial for the murder of a lawyer and a brigadier general, which began in May, covered the first of around 150 charges levelled against Hashemi, who has been accused of running a death squad, and his bodyguards.

Sunday hearing opened with the prosecution asking the court to condemn Hashemi, one of Iraq's most senior Sunni officials, to death for the two murders but to drop a charge of involvement in another top security official's killing.

The defence lawyers then read a lengthy closing statement protesting that the trial was unfair and the court exposed to political pressure.

A judge at one point interrupted, warning the defence lawyer: "You are attacking the judicial authority and you will be held responsible if you continue."

The sentence was issued after about 30 minutes of deliberation by the three judges.

Hashemi, who was born in 1942, became one of Iraq's vice presidents in April 2006, the same month that his brother and sister were shot dead in separate attacks.

When he first became a vice president, he was the head of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a group that was said to have connections to some elements of Iraq's Sunni insurgency.

The party was the driving force in Iraq's Sunni-led National Concord Front, which helped mastermind the return of the country's Sunni minority to the political process after the community boycotted January 2005 elections.

Hashemi later founded the Tajdid (Renewal) party, which is a part of Iraqiya, the secular, Sunni-backed bloc that won the most seats in 2010 parliamentary polls only to be outmanoeuvred by Maliki, who retained the premiership.

He was reelected as vice president in 2010 but was accused of running a death squad in mid-December 2011 as the last American soldiers left the country.

Hashemi fled to Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, which declined to hand him over to the federal government, and then embarked on a tour that took him to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He has taken refuge in Turkey since April.

Interpol said in May that it had issued an international Red Notice for the arrest of Hashemi on suspicion of "guiding and financing terrorist attacks."

It said the notice, its highest possible alert, was issued under an Iraqi warrant "as part of an investigation in which security forces seized bombing materials and arrested individuals."

 

28 killed in IS attack on Huthi rebel leaders in Sanaa

Islamic State 'caliphate' enters second year with more bloodshed

Turkey holds top security meet

Tunisia to arm tourist police after Sousse attack

Qatar concedes 'much more needs to be done' on labour law

Britons death toll in Tunisia attack to soar to 'around 30'

US official says method found for access to suspect Iran sites

Israel to Syria rebels: 'Don't mess with the Druze'

Egypt state prosecutor dead after Cairo bomb attack

Iranians anxious as talks stumble

'Unprecedented situation' for Sudan's journalists

Egypt's state prosecutor injured in bomb attack

UAE woman sentenced to death for killing US teacher

Israel escorts flotilla defying Gaza blockade

Repatriation of two Tunisians once held by CIA

Key confidante of Syria president dies of illness

Libya rival factions sit at same table for first time

Students may have left Sudan for ‘Islamic State’

Tense nuclear talks set to go beyond deadline as differences remain

Kuwait names Saudi man as suicide bomber in mosque attack

Armed police swarm streets of Tunisia beach resorts

Turkey wants more walls on border with Syria

Tunisia unites in pain and shock as hope slips away

Abadi: ‘Unauthorised’ withdrawal of Iraq forces led to loss of Ramadi

Negotiators ‘need to work really hard’ as nuclear talks begin

Iraq arrests Saddam-era official following arduous operation

Syria Kurds take full control of Kobane after killing spree by jihadists

Kuwait tightens security after mosque attack

Thousands of scared tourists scramble to leave Tunisia

Qatar’s Advisory Council rejects labour reform

Tunisia seaside massacre deals heavy blow to tourism

Kuwait to hold mass funeral for IS attack victims

37 dead in Tunisia beach attack

Essebsi: Tunisia cannot respond alone to jihadist threat

Israel urges French Jews to flee after factory attack

Saudi pursuing own nuclear projects to counter Iran

Islamic State claim Shiite mosque bombing in Kuwait

Somali Shebab overrun African Union base

Vatican under fire from Israel

Palestinians submit Israeli war crimes files to ICC

Islamic State massacre civilians in Syria’s Kobane

One decapitated, several injured in France terrorist attack

Egypt, US to hold 'strategic dialogue' in July amid warming ties

Libya rivals return to Morocco for new peace talks

Eritrean asylum seekers protest in Israel