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Fugitive Iraqi VP Hashemi sentenced to death by hanging

Published:

An Iraqi judge on Sunday sentenced fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi to death by hanging for the murder of a lawyer and a brigadier general, a spokesman for the judiciary council said.

“The high criminal court issued a death sentence by hanging against Tareq al-Hashemi after he was convicted,” spokesman Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar said.

His secretary and son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan was also sentenced to die.

The trial, which began in May, covered the first of around 150 charges leveled against Hashemi and his bodyguards.

Hashemi was tried in absentia. A statement posted on his website on August 10 said he was in Doha, Qatar. He fled to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region when the charges were made in December, as U.S. troops were pulling out of the country.

Hashemi, a Sunni, fled the country earlier this year after authorities sought his arrest. His case sparked a political crisis in the country’s power-sharing government among Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish political blocs.

Hashemi accused Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of conducting a political witch-hunt against Sunni opponents, but the government said it was a judicial case. Hashemi is currently in Turkey.

The scheduled trial of was postponed for a while in May, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

Hashemi had continued to dismiss the charges as politically-motivated.

The charges were leveled in December after U.S. troops completed their pullout, sparking a political crisis that saw Hashemi’s bloc boycott cabinet and parliament over accusations Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was monopolizing power.