Iraqi VP condemns 'unjust' death sentence

2012-09-10 14:00
Iraq's Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi speaks to the media during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

Iraq's Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi speaks to the media during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baghdad — 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.

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

"I totally reject and will never recognise" the verdict, al-Hashemi told reporters in the Turkish capital of Ankara. "I consider the verdict a medal on my chest."

"The death sentence is a price I have to pay due to love to 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."

Al-Hashemi fled to Turkey after Iraq's Shi'ite-led government issued the terror charges against him in December, the day after US 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 fuelled Sunni Muslim and Kurdish resentment against al-Maliki, whom critics say is monopolising power.

Sentenced in absentia  
  
           
On Sunday, Baghdad's criminal court convicted al-Hashemi and his son-in-law, Ahmed Qahtan, of organising the murders of a Shi'ite 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 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 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.

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 neighbouring 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."

Read more on:    nuri al-maliki  |  tareq al-hashemi  |  iraq

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Road Accident Fund: #Takecharge to make roads safer

Hot on the heels of its Easter meet the #FutureYou campaign, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will once again take its road safety message to the public - Sponsored.

 

Stay safe

Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
First-aid kit: What you need in YOUR car
Hey, lazy! Get outta the disabled bay!
Yaris: Perfect car for back-seat babes
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is expansive and philosophical. It is easy to see the bigger picture, but you can end up getting lost in it, so...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.