Iraqi Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi, denies any involvement in terrorist-linked activity. He called the allegations which have resulted in an arrest warrant, a fabrication, and said he is ready to stand trial:
“I am ready to stand before a judge, with my bodyguards,” he said. “But to provide the minimum requirement of justice, I have notes and objections against the preliminary investigation, which was conducted by the Baghdad brigade or by the federal police or by military intelligence.”He has been accused of running a hit squad that assassinated government and security officials. The warrant for Iraq’s highest ranking Sunni official was issued a day after US troops left the country prompting the White House to express its concern.
“We’re urging all sides to work to resolve differences peacefully and through dialogue in a manner consistent with the rule of law and the democratic political process,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
According to Iraq’s Interior Ministry suspects identified as al-Hashemi’s bodyguards linked the vice president to the killings.
State television has also shown pictures of the men who its claimed have admitted their part in planning and carrying out attacks. Many Sunnis say the charges levelled against Hashemi are politically motivated as he is an old rival of the prime minister.