Iraq set to try fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi in absentia

tariq hashmiIraq’s Supreme Judiciary Council is set to hold the trial in absentia of fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi over accusations of involvement in terrorist attacks

The court session is scheduled to begin in the capital, Baghdad, later on Thursday.

Hashemi is accused of involvement in bomb attacks against government and security officials over the past years. He and his bodyguards also face accusations of killing six judges.

On December 19, 2011, an investigative committee within the Iraqi Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Hashemi after three of his bodyguards confessed to having taken orders from him to carry out the terrorist attacks.

Hashemi later fled to the Kurdistan Region.

The fugitive vice president is now in the Turkish city of Istanbul and he is not expected to attend the trial.

On April 30, Spokesperson for Iraq’s Supreme Judiciary Council Abdelsattar Bayraqdar said in a statement that there are “many crimes that Hashemi and his guards are accused of and there were confessions obtained, including on the assassinations of six judges, mostly from Baghdad.”

Hashemi and his bodyguards face about 150 accusations, Bayraqdar said.

The Iraqi spokesperson, however, did not specify the exact number of accusations Hashemi himself faces.

The trial is to address the “assassination of the general director in the national security ministry, an officer in the interior ministry and a lawyer,” Bayraqdar stated.

The statement added that 13 of the bodyguards have been released for lack of evidence and another 73 still remain in custody.

Hashemi denies the accusations and has called for the referral of his case to the Kurdistan Region, but Iraq’s judiciary has rejected his request.


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