Iraq President`s testimony rejected in trial of VP

Iraq`s Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi is accused of running death squads against Shi’ites and government security forces.

Baghdad: An Iraqi appeals court has rejected a request to have President Jalal Talabani testify in the terror trial against the nation`s Sunni vice president.

The decision was announced today by defence lawyers to Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi as the trial against him resumed.

Al-Hashemi had wanted Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, to serve as a character witness to help his case.

There was no immediate explanation as to why the appeals court rejected the request.

Al-Hashemi is one of Iraq`s highest-ranking Sunni officials. He is accused of running death squads against Shi’ites and government security forces in a case that has exacerbated sectarian tensions around the country.

Al-Hashemi has denied the charges but has fled Iraq. He was last seen in Turkey. His trial is scheduled to continue on August 14.

PTI

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