Fugitive Iraqi vice-president sentenced to death
BAGHDAD (AFP) - 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, an AFP correspondent reported.
Hashemi, tried in absentia, has dismissed all charges against him as politically motivated. His secretary and son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan was also tried in absentia and sentenced to death.
The trial, which began in May, covered the first of around 150 charges levelled against Hashemi, one of Iraq's most senior Sunni officials, and his bodyguards, who have been accused of running a death squad.
He fled to the autonomous Kurdistan region when charges were filed in December as US troops were pulling out of Iraq. Kurdistan refused to hand him over, and Hashemi travelled on to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and has been in Turkey since April.