Iraqi VP may flee the country

March 5, 2012 11:30 am 

BAGHDAD, March 4 — The Iraqi interior ministry said wanted Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi has plans to flee the country,thus the need for the Kurdish regional interior ministry to hand him over to judicial authorities, a ministry statement said on Sunday.

"The interior ministry (in Baghdad) demands Kurdistan's interior (ministry) to implement the arrest warrant issued against him and hand him over to the judicial authorities," the statement said.

It said that the ministry has "reliable information that the defendant (Hashimi) intends to flee the country from the region ( Kurdistan) to outside Iraq."

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

Hashimi, who resorted to the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, rejected the accusation that he was running a death squad and said he is ready to face trial on condition that it is held in Iraq's northern Kurdish region.

"I confirm my readiness to face a trial," Hashimi told reporters in Arbil, the capital of Iraq's northern Kurdish region.

"The atmosphere of investigation in this case is not normal," Hashimi said, suggesting that the case be transferred to the Kurdish region.

The Iraqi Judicial Council, the highest body in the country's judicial system, refused to transfer the case to Kurdistan as the region has its own independent judicial system. (PNA/Xinhua)

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