Baghdad: A neighbour of Iraq's fugitive vice president on Tuesday testified that he transported bombs at the request of the official's son as hearings resumed in a politically charged terrorism trial against the politician.
Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's senior Sunni Muslim politicians, is charged with running death squads against Shi’ites.
In yesterday’s court session, the neighbour said he carried explosives but did not take part in attacks.
Four of al-Hashemi's bodyguards also faced questions about their roles in alleged attacks between 2006 and 2011.
Al-Hashemi denies wrongdoing. He considers the charges a politically motivated attack by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Critics accuse the Shi’ite Prime Minister of sidelining his opponents to consolidate power.
The case stokes sectarian sensitivities in Iraq, though it has not led to a return of the wide-scale violence of years past.
It has all but shut down Iraq's government by fuelling simmering Sunni and Kurdish resentments against the Shi’ite Prime Minister.
Al-Hashemi fled the country earlier this year and refuses to return for the trial. He has been staying in Turkey, which last month granted him a residence permit.
Last week he travelled to the Gulf state of Qatar. His trial is scheduled to resume on September 09.
Violence in the north of the country, meanwhile, left three people dead yesterday.
Among those killed was Ayad Hussein, an investigator in the government integrity commission, a body charged with fighting corruption. Police said he was shot in the northern city of Mosul as he headed to work.
Another man was gunned down as he stood near his house in the city, which is about 360 kilometres northwest of Baghdad.
Elsewhere, police said a car bomb exploded near a checkpoint in the oil centre of Beiji, killing one policeman and wounding six people, including two police officers.
Hospital and morgue officials confirmed the attacks. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information to reporters.
First Published: Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 10:13