Iraqi Court Sentences Sunni VP to Death
An Iraqi court on Sunday found the nation’s Sunni vice president guilty of running death squads against security forces and Shiites, and sentenced him to death in absentia.
Tariq al-Hashemi, who has denied the charges, was not in court to hear the verdict against him. He fled the country after the terror charges were leveled against him in December, and is currently in Turkey.
The Baghdad courtroom was silent Sunday as the judge, who said his name could not be released for fear of violent reprisals, announced the verdict convicting al-Hashemi and his son-in-law of the killings of a lawyer and a security official. The two were acquitted in a third case for a lack of evidence, the judge said.
The charges against al-Hashemi, one of the country’s highest-ranking Sunni officials, have fueled simmering Sunni and Kurdish resentments against the Shiite prime minister, who critics claim is monopolizing power, and led to a near-paralysis of Iraq’s government.