Tariq al-Hashemi. AFP Photo
A bodyguard working for one of the main parties in Iraq’s Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, which has clashed politically with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was killed yesterday, officials said. The incident came ahead of the trial which the country’s fugitive vice president will be tried.
Latif Ramadan Jassim was on duty near the headquarters of the Wifaq (Accord) party in Zeitun, west Baghdad, when he was stabbed to death yesterday morning, party spokeswoman and MP Intisar Allawi told Agence France-Presse. Al-Hashemi’s trial starts today
“The police are now conducting an investigation,” she said. An interior ministry official confirmed a Wifaq guard was killed in Baghdad yesterday. Wifaq is one of the main parties in the broader Iraqiya coalition, which won the most seats in March 2010 parliamentary elections but was outmaneuvered for the premiership by Maliki’s State of Law alliance. The trial against Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and a number of his guards will begin today, and would tackle the “assassination of the general director in the national security ministry, an officer in the interior ministry and a lawyer.”
He is not expected to attend the trial. An arrest warrant was issued in December for al-Hashemi on charges of running a death squad, amid a crisis between the Iraqiya bloc to which he belongs and al-Maliki. Al-Hashemi fled to northern Iraq. It then allowed him to leave on a tour of the region that has taken him to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and now Turkey.