Iraq: ‘Innocent’ fugitive VP rejects verdict

An Iraqi court sentenced fugitive Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and his aide to death in absentia over terror charges.

Updated: Sep 10, 2012, 14:31 PM IST

Zeenews bureau

Ankara: A day after an Iraqi court sentenced Tariq al-Hashemi and his aide to death in absentia over terror charges, the fugitive Sunni vice president on Monday claimed innocence.

Al-Hashemi further described the terror trial that convicted him of masterminding death squads against rivals as illegitimate.

Speaking at a news conference in Turkey, where he is in exile, al-Hashemi accused the nation`s Shi’ite Prime Minister of being behind it.

Al-Hasemi was convicted on Sunday of organising death squads that killed a Baghdad lawyer and a government security official.

The Baghdad court sentenced him to death by hanging.

Al-Hashemi fled to Turkey in the months after the Shi’ite-led government accused him of playing 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 US-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 Shi’ite pilgrims.

(With Agency inputs)