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."

 

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus

PKK attack near Iraq kills 2 Turkish soldiers

Netanyahu confidant to testify against him

Iran emergency teams recover bodies from plane crash site

Ten dead in more Syrian regime strikes on East Ghouta

Bahrain activist sentenced to 5 years for Yemen tweets

Lebanese president makes landmark visit to Iraq

US declares readiness to talk Mideast peace

Bloodbath in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Abbas calls for peace conference in rare UN speech

Egyptian court adds leading government critic on terror list

Yemen government offensive threatens heritage site