Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

i Gracias, Gabo i

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Socialist rebellion grows

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can Weibo win over US investors?

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

  • Captain not at helm when ship listed, South Korean officials say

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • Low turnout reported in Algeria as Bouteflika seeks fourth term

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

Middle east

Fugitive Iraqi VP rejects guilty verdict

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-09-10

Fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (pictured) on Monday rejected the death sentence handed to him by a Baghdad court on charges of running death squads. Hashemi earlier described the trial as a political vendetta against him.

AP - Iraq’s fugitive Sunni vice president on Monday declared his “absolute innocence” and rejected the terror trial that sentenced him to death on charges of masterminding the murder of rivals as a politically motivated sham.

Tariq al-Hashemi, who fled Iraq after the country’s government brought the charges against him, called the trial illegitimate and accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite and longtime foe of the vice president, of orchestrating it as part of a political vendetta.

“The verdict is unjust, politicized, illegitimate and I will not recognize it,” al-Hashemi told reporters in the Turkish capital of Ankara. “But I put it as a medal of honor on my chest because it was al-Maliki, not anyone else, behind it. I’m proud that it is al-Maliki, and not anyone else, to target me.”

“The death sentence is a price I have to pay due to my love for my country and my loyalty to my people,” he added. “I reiterate that I’m innocent, and am ready to stand before a fair judicial system and not a corrupt one that is under al-Maliki’s influence.”

Spokesmen for al-Maliki and the Iraqi government could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Al-Hashemi fled to Turkey after Iraq’s Shiite-led government issued the terror charges against him in December, the day after U.S. troops withdrew from the country. He would receive a retrial if he agrees to return to Baghdad, but al-Hashemi has refused, saying he will never get a fair hearing in a Baghdad court.

The politically charged case sparked a government crisis and fueled Sunni Muslim and Kurdish resentment against al-Maliki, whom critics say is monopolizing power.

On Sunday, Baghdad’s criminal court convicted al-Hashemi and his son-in-law, Ahmed Qahtan, of organizing the murders of a Shiite security official and a lawyer who had refused to help the vice president’s allies in terror cases. The two defendants were acquitted in a third case of the killing of a security officer due to a lack of evidence.

The charges were the first against al-Hashemi to go to trial among the government’s allegations that he played a role in 150 bombings, assassinations and other attacks from 2005 to 2011 – years in which the country was mired in retaliatory sectarian violence that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein’s Sunni regime. Most of the attacks were allegedly carried out by al-Hashemi’s bodyguards and other employees, and largely targeted government officials, security forces and Shiite pilgrims.

The Baghdad court sentenced both al-Hashemi and Qahtan in absentia to death. They have 30 days to appeal the verdict and could win a retrial if they return to Iraq to face the charges.

Most of the court evidence against al-Hashemi came from about ten of his former bodyguards, who testified they were ordered by Qahtan, and then paid, to carry out killings in small groups. Qahtan managed al-Hashemi’s vice presidential office.

Al-Hashemi has long accused the government of torturing the bodyguards into giving false statements. His defense team did not offer any witnesses or testimony during the trial’s ten hearings.

Al-Hashemi – who has been in office since 2006 – is on Interpol’s most-wanted list, but Turkey has shown no interest in sending the vice president back to Baghdad, straining diplomacy between the two neighboring nations.

Al-Hashemi appeared defiantly upbeat at the packed press conference. "I am not worried about my life," he said. "I am worried about the future of my country."

 

Date created : 2012-09-09

  • TURKEY

    Turkey 'refuses to extradite' fugitive Iraqi vice president

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Interpol seeks arrest of fugitive Iraqi vice-president

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)