Iraqi court issues 5th death verdict against fugitive VP Hashimi


BAGHDAD, Dec. 13 — An Iraqi court on Thursday issued for the fifth time a death penalty verdict in absentia against the fugitive Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, a judicial source said.

“The Central Criminal Court of Iraq issued a verdict of death penalty by hanging against Tariq al-Hashimi in the case of possessing and using silenced weapons,” the source told reporters on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Iraqi courts earlier issued four death sentences in absentia against Hashimi, one of Iraq’s top Sunni Arab officials, over charges of orchestrating death squads.

Hashimi, a prominent critic of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki, has been in Turkey since accusations he described as ” politically motivated” were first made against him in December 2011.

Soon after the U.S. troops fully withdrew from Iraq late last year, Iraq plunged into a serious political row as Prime Minister al-Maliki sought to arrest his political rival Hashimi, a leading member of the Sunni-backed political bloc of Iraqia, over terror charges.